The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. 

Aaron Sorkin writing Social Network ‘quasi-sequel’ because he blames Facebook for January 6 riot

‘Facebook has been tuning its algorithm to promote the most divisive material possible,’ said the ‘West Wing’ creator

Kevin E G Perry
Monday 29 April 2024 05:48 BST
Comments
The Social Network - trailer

Aaron Sorkin has said he plans to write a sequel of sorts to his Oscar-winning drama The Social Network to examine Facebook’s role in spreading “divisive material” and the platform’s role in the January 6 Capitol riots.

Speaking on a recent episode of podcast The Town, Sorkin said: “I blame Facebook for January 6.”

When asked to specify how he would tackle the link between the social media platform and the riots which saw Donald Trump supporters storm the US Capitol Building, Sorkin replied: “You’re going to need to buy a movie ticket.”

The West Wing creator did however elaborate about what he sees as the dark side of the social media giant.

“Facebook has been, among other things, tuning its algorithm to promote the most divisive material possible, because that is what will increase engagement,” he said.

“That is what will get you to, what they call inside the hallways of Facebook, ‘the infinite scroll’,” Sorkin said. “There’s supposed to be a constant tension at Facebook between growth and integrity. There isn’t; there’s just growth.”

Aaron Sorkin and ‘The Social Network’ star Jesse Eisenberg in New York in 2010
Aaron Sorkin and ‘The Social Network’ star Jesse Eisenberg in New York in 2010 (Getty)

The original The Social Network was released in 2010 and followed the creation of Facebook. It starred Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Garfield as Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Justin Timberlake as Napster creator Sean Parker.

The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $224m worldwide and winning several Oscars including Best Adapted Screenplay for Sorkin.

This is not the first time Sorkin has floated the possibility of writing a follow-up to The Social Network.

In 2020, the screenwriter said that he would only be interested if the original film’s director, David Fincher, was also involved.

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

Speaking to the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Sorkin said: “I do want to see it. People have been talking to me about it. What we’ve discovered is the dark side of Facebook.”

Sorkin explains that he is referring to the case of Roger McNamee, the initial Facebook investor who wrote a book (called Zucked!) about his unease with the project.

“Sandberg and Zuckerberg seem uninterested in doing anything about it. This all ends up with McNamee in a Senate basement secure conference room briefing Senate Intelligence subcommittee members on how Facebook is bringing down democracy,” said Sorkin. “We have a huge problem here and something needs to be done about it.”

He added: “I will only write [the Social Network sequel] if David [Fincher] directs it.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in