Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the social networking site, Facebook, is being hounded by three students from Harvard, claiming they had hired him for programming services on their website. The three allege that Mark Zuckerberg stalled them for months, before releasing his own version of their site. A Boston Judge will be deciding this week whether the three men’s claims are legitimate enough to continue with a lawsuit.
Facebook was launched on February 4, 2004, and was originally created for Harvard students only. Within a couple months, membership was expanded to other Boston area schools. Today, Facebook has over 30 million members worldwide and is the seventh most visited site within the United States.
A lawsuit was filed in late March by three of Zuckerberg’s fellow Harvard students. The students claim their site, ConnectU.com, is the original Facebook, and was stolen by Zuckerberg after they had hired him for programming services on ConnectU.com.
ConnectU didn’t launch until 3 months after Facebook launched, making such an argument quite unconvincing. But one of the 3 men, Cameron Winklevoss, has copies of over 50 e-mails exchanged between Zuckerberg and his team.
Zuckerberg doesn’t deny that he was supposed to help code the ConnectU site and says he voluntarily agreed to a six hour contribution for the site. Zuckerberg, explaining the large delay in his services, said he was simply too busy working on Facebook to do anything else at the time.
The three alleging men are asking the court to shut down Facebook and are also seeking monetary damages from Zuckerberg; though, Zuckerberg insists that Facebook is original, and plans to counter sue the three for defamation of character.