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On November 30, 2003, Zuckerberg told Cameron Winklevoss in an email that he did not expect completion of the project to be difficult. Zuckerberg writes: “I read over all the stuff you sent and it seems like it shouldn’t take too long to implement, so we can talk about that after I get all the basic functionality up tomorrow night.”The next day, on December 1, 2003, Zuckerberg sent another email to the HarvardConnection team. “I put together one of the two registration pages so I have everything working on my system now. I’ll keep you posted as I patch stuff up and it starts to become completely functional.” On December 4, 2003, Zuckerberg writes: “Sorry I was unreachable tonight. I just got about three of your missed calls. I was working on a problem set.”
On December 10, 2003: “The week has been pretty busy, so I haven’t gotten a chance to do much work on the site or even think about it really, so I think it’s probably best to postpone meeting until we have more to discuss. I’m also really busy tomorrow so I don’t think I’d be able to meet then anyway.” A week later: “Sorry I have not been reachable for the past few days. I’ve basically been in the lab the whole time working on a cs problem set which I’m still not finished with.” On December 17, 2003, Zuckerberg met with the Winklevosses and Narendra in his dorm room, allegedly confirming his interest and assuring them that the site was almost complete. On the whiteboard in his room, Zuckerberg allegedly had scrawled multiple lines of code under the heading “Harvard Connection.” However, this would be the only time they saw any of his work. On January 8, 2004, Zuckerberg emailed to say he was “completely swamped with work [that] week” but had “made some of the changes … and they seem[ed] to be working great” on his computer. He said he could discuss the site starting the following Tuesday, on January 13, 2004.
On January 11, 2004, Zuckerberg registered the domain name thefacebook.com.
On January 12, 2004, Zuckerberg e-mailed Eduardo Saverin, saying that the site [thefacebook.com] was almost complete and that they should discuss marketing strategies. Two days later, on January 14, 2004, Zuckerberg met again with the HarvardConnection team. However, he allegedly never mentioned registering the domain name thefacebook.com nor a competing social networking website, rather he reported progress on HarvardConnection, told them he would continue to work on it, and would email the group later in the week. On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched thefacebook.com, a social network for Harvard students, designed to expand to other schools around the country.
On February 6, 2004, the Winklevosses and Narendra first-learned of thefacebook.com while reading a press release in the Harvard student newspaper The Harvard Crimson.According to Gao, who looked at the HarvardConnection code afterward, Zuckerberg had left the HarvardConnection code incomplete and non-functional, with a registration that did not connect with the back-end connections. On February 10, 2004, the Winklevosses and Narendra sent Zuckerberg a cease and desist letter.
They also asked the Harvard administration to act on what they viewed as a violation of the university’s honor code and student handbook They lodged a complaint with the Harvard Administrative Board and university president Larry Summers; however, both viewed the matter to be outside the university’s jurisdiction.President Summers advised the HarvardConnection team to take their matter to the courts.