For Facebook, Movie Damage Control

Facebook Inc. executives have sought to discredit a new film’s unflattering portrayal of Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, even as they worked behind the scenes to influence the movie.

Those efforts range from attempting to massage the script, according to one of the film’s producers, to promoting an alternative corporate history.

The movie, “The Social Network,” depicts Mr. Zuckerberg as a socially awkward egomaniac who may have stolen the idea for his company from fellow students while he was an undergraduate at Harvard University.

The film—which premieres Friday night and will be widely released Oct. 1 by Sony Corp.’s (SNE) Sony Pictures—takes as its narrative framework two lawsuits over the company’s origins. Facebook later settled the cases.

On Friday, Mr. Zuckerberg will announce on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that he is donating $100 million to the public schools in Newark, N.J.— his first major act of philanthropy.

According to a person familiar with the matter, Facebook didn’t time Mr. Zuckerberg’s gift for the film’s premiere.
Mr. Zuckerberg, through a company spokesman, declined to be interviewed for this article.

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