What’s the point of The Social Network?

This morning’s Observer column.

Lessig’s point is that it’s the open internet that should be the real hero of the story. “What’s important here,” he writes, “is that Zuckerberg’s genius could be embraced by half-a-billion people within six years of its first being launched, without – and here is the critical bit – asking the permission of anyone.” That’s true, but I think Lessig is too harsh. The message he wants the film to communicate is there in the screenplay if you look hard enough. It lies in the film’s portrayal of the contrast between what happens to unauthorised innovation on a closed, tightly controlled system and what’s possible with the open, uncontrolled architecture of the internet.