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

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That bit of fancy codework ended up in a lawsuit that got settled when Facebook agreed to pay the Winklevoss twins (yes, really) $65 million. The Winklevosses are now disputing the terms of their settlement, claming that Facebook's attorneys lied about the company's true worth. They're accusing Zuckerberg of securities fraud.

And you'll be able to see it all on the big screen on Oct. 1, when "The Social Network" movie opens. Bring popcorn, it looks like an interesting story.

All of this is happening during the same week Facebook officially celebrated its 500 millionth member, making it more than 15 times bigger than AOL at its height. (Of course, people had to pay for AOL -- at least, those who hadn't used up their 5,000-free-hours CDs. Facebook is still entirely free.)

That feat is even more impressive considering that, according to surveys conducted by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, many of Facebook's own users don't like it very much. On a scale from 1 to 100, Facebook earns a score of 64 -- below Wikipedia and YouTube, and just 1 point above MySpace. That must be galling.

Even so, the still-no-IPO-in-sight Facebook is worth nearly $25 billion on paper, according to SharesPost.com. The question is, how many of those dollars will Facebook have to part with to make Ceglia go away? Otherwise, that would really ruin the storybook ending -- or, at least, make for a lousy sequel.

Is Facebook really worth that much? Post your thoughts below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This story, "Facebook: More members, more lawsuits, more problems" was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog.

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