SuperPoke! ConnectU Has Bi!*$%slapped Facebook
The silly dispute over the provenance of Facebook landed in federal court once again yesterday, this time over allegations that ConnectU hacked Facebook to gather information that could be used to lure its members to ConnectU’s competing social-networking site.
In a motion hearing, ConnectU disputed Facebook’s allegations and asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Seeborg to dismiss the countersuit. “Facebook makes untrue assertions,” said ConnectU attorney Scott Mosko, presumably in an attempt to frame the suit as a dissembling one, filed in retaliation over ConnectU’s lawsuit, which accuses Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg of lifting ConnectU’s source code and business plan when he worked for the company as a programmer.
For his part, Zuckerberg has maintained that Facebook’s code was developed independently. And it may well have been. Although perhaps not by Zuckerberg. According to Aaron J. Greenspan, one of Zuckerberg’s Harvard classmates, he (not Zuckerberg) created the college social network that inspired Facebook.
Months before anyone had even heard of Facebook, Greenspan established a similar service that he called houseSYSTEM. Among its features: “Face Book,” an online system for quickly locating other students.
Simple coincidence? Not by a long shot. “Remember the Web site you signed up for at Harvard two days before we met in January 2004 called houseSYSTEM–the one I made with the Universal Face Book that predated your site by four months?” Greenspan wrote in an open letter to Zuckerberg last year. “Well, I’ve relaunched it as CommonRoom, and just like its predecessor, it has all sorts of features that might seem familiar: birthday reminders, an event calendar, RSVPs, how you know someone, photo albums, courses posters. After all, when you saw all of those features in houseSYSTEM three years ago, you called them ‘too useful,’ but I stood by them as valuable. Fortunately, even though I shut down houseSYSTEM, I can still use those same features on Facebook– and I didn’t even have to write any more code!”