Man claims 84 percent ownership of Facebook

A New York resident says in 2003 a $1000 investment in Facebook entitles him to own 84 percent of the social networking giant

A New York man has filed suit against Facebook claiming he owns 84 percent of the world's largest social network. Paul D. Ceglia, the man behind the lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, claims Facebook owes him damages relating to a 2003 contract between Ceglia and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The purported contract asked Ceglia to develop and design a Website "similar to a live functioning yearbook with the working title of 'The Face Book,'" according to the Wall Street Journal.

The contract reportedly states that Zuckerberg would pay Ceglia US$1000 plus 50 percent ownership in the company. Ceglia would also get an extra percentage point every month after January 1, 2004 until the work was completed.

One problem with Ceglia's claim that his contract dates back to 2003 is that Zuckerberg hadn't even registered Facebook's original domain, thefacebook.com, until January 11, 2004, according to journalist David Kirkpatrick's well-researched book, The Facebook Effect. However, Kirkpatrick's book does say that Zuckerberg started developing Facebook at some point between late 2003 and early 2004.

Although it's unclear how convincing Ceglia's purported evidence is, he has managed to have the judge hearing the case issue a temporary restraining order against the transfer of Facebook's assets.

Ceglia is no stranger to the New York court system or restraining orders himself, according to the Journal. In late, 2009 New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo issued a temporary restraining order against Ceglia's company, Allegany Pellets, LLC. Cuomo said the company had taken more than $200,000 in advance payments from customers, and promised to deliver 1,900 tons of wood pellets in the following months. The company, according to the Attorney General, failed to deliver any products or issue refunds to disgruntled customers. Wood pellets are a heating fuel typically made from compacted sawdust that can be used to heat homes. Allegany Pellets is no longer accepting orders on its Website.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook has called Ceglia's suit "frivolous," and plans to fight it out in court.

Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul).

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags social mediainternetFacebookInternet-based applications and serviceslegal issues

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?