“Facebook 101”

This summer, we are teaching a large undergraduate course (n = 305) on “the legal and ethical environment of business.” Specifically, we will focus on the founding of Facebook–as depicted in the bestseller “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich–to explore various areas of business law, including such areas as the law of contracts (think of Facebook’s “terms of use”), choice of business entity (think of Facebook’s evolution from a partnership into a Florida limited liability company before incorporating in the State of Delaware), and the ethics of Facebook’s privacy policies. Although we are not big fans of Facebook, we think our focus on the founding of Facebook makes good sense for several reasons. First of all, our target audience consists of undergraduates, most of whom use some form of social media to connect with the wider world, and furthermore, it was a motley crew of college students who ended up creating one of the most successful Internet platforms in the world today (see below). Mark Zuckerberg literally changed the world, so why not learn from his successes … and from his mistakes?

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