Facebook: More members, more lawsuits, more problems

Even as Facebook welcomes its 500 millionth member, it faces a lawsuit claiming ownership of 84 percent of the social network

Facebook just might have a new daddy, and his name isn't Mark Zuckerberg.

What seemed like a nuisance suit filed by a complete unknown named Paul Ceglia, who claims he owns 84 percent of Facebook, could come back to bite the 26-year-old hoodie-wearing CEO in the assets.

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The story is that Ceglia, a Web designer, hired then-Harvard freshman Zuckerberg to do some coding for him back in April 2003. Now Bloomberg is reporting Zuckerberg may indeed have signed a legal agreement with Ceglia, though why it took him seven years to remember it is still a mystery.

A lawyer for Facebook Inc. said she was “unsure” whether company founder Mark Zuckerberg signed a contract that purportedly entitles a New York man to 84 percent of the world’s biggest social-networking service....

“Whether he signed this piece of paper, we’re unsure at this moment,” Facebook lawyer Lisa Simpson told Arcara.

Zuckerberg allegedly signed a contract that paid him $1,000 to write code for a database project Ceglia called "StreetFax" (which sounds like a crude version of Google Street View) and another $1,000 for something called PageBook. It also apparently mentioned a future project called Facebook. According to VentureBeat, Zuckerberg got paid for one of those projects, but not the others.

If this story sounds strangely familiar, it's because Zuckerberg had a similar arrangement with Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss (yes, really) back in December 2003. They hired Zucky to do some coding for their nascent campus social network, then called HarvardConnection (later ConnectU). A few weeks later, Zuckerberg magically came up with his own idea for a social network, named theFacebook, which itself was borrowed from the name for Harvard's online student directory. Later, Winkledudes.

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