Does Mark Zuckerberg Have Aspergers?

This is precisely the question I googled when I got home from seeing the movie, “Social Network” last night. I know that the media doesn’t perfectly portray reality but Zuckerberg’s character certainly highlighted many of the characteristics of a person with Aspergers. And, judging from the articles that came up in my search, I wasn’t the only person that thought that!

According to Diagnostic Criteria for Aspergers Syndrome, the movie version of Mark Zuckerberg met many of the criteria:

  • Marked impairment in the ability to use non-verbal behaviors. Was I the only one trying to follow his dialogue with his girlfriend in the opening scene? Verbally he was not making smooth transitions in conversation, but also his body postures, limited eye contact and lack of facial expression made it hard to read his intent.
  • Impairment in social and occupational functioning. I found myself wanting to help Mark’s character through the sea of college social events, fraternity parties, special clubs, dates etc. He seemed preoccupied and not enjoying what he peers naturally enjoy.
  • Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to his developmental level. Mark couldn’t sustain a girlfriend. His judgement to blog about their breakup and make crude comments would have seemingly ended their relationship forever but when he spotted her in a restaurant later, he tried to take up where he left off–not realizing the consequences of his actions.
  • No clinically significant delay in language or cognitive development. You can say that again! This guy was portrayed as brilliant–perfect scores on his SAT’s and breezing through Harvard while preoccupied with starting what is being called the biggest startup since Google.

My last little research after watching the movie was to see what the real Mark Zuckerberg is like so I watched a “60 Minutes” interview with Leslie Stahl from 2009.

I was amazed at how much he looked like his Hollywood double but also thought he was pretty adept at the interview until there was a breakdown. Ms Stahl made the statement that “You seem to be replacing Larry and Sergey..” intimating he was the hot new thing since Google. Zuckerberg didn’t respond verbally or nonverbally. Stahl referenced his just staring at her and that she had heard he might be difficult to interview. Then he said, “Was that a question?” Maybe he is just incredibly clever, but it could be a blip related to a lack of social skills.

Whether or not the real Mark Zuckerberg has Aspergers is perhaps a mute point. The greater message here is about his incredible accomplishments either in spite of or because of possible limitations.

Go see the movie. It was great.

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13 Responses to Does Mark Zuckerberg Have Aspergers?

  1. Phyllis says:

    I am the Mom of an Aspy and very connected to that community. I came home from the movie and told my family that I also needed to Google Mark Zuckerberg and AS. He is a posterboy for AS. I wish if he has been diagnosed that he would bring it out as an inspiration for our ASPY community.

    • sherry says:

      Phyllis, thanks for your comments. I agree with you that good could come with more dialogue about successful people who have Aspergers and what they have accomplished. I couldn’t find confirmation that he has been diagnosed although I did read that his mother is a psychiatrist–interesting. Best to you and your child.

  2. Tracy says:

    I just watched the Social Network last night and within this first few minutes I goggled the same question this writer did ” Does Mark Zukerberg have Aspergers?”. My daugher is an Aspy and seeing him portayed in this movie was oure Aspergers. My daughter also watched the movie and told her he may have Aspegers and it goes to show that with this “disability” you can still do anything you set your mind to!

  3. Jackie says:

    I agree with all of you as soon as I saw the movie “Social Network” I too thought that Mark Zuckerberg has aspergers syndrome. I wondered if he’s ever been diagnosed? he would an inspiration to many and to those who have this incredible “ABILITY”!! definitely be an inspiration to my son who is on the spectrum. God bless!

    • sherry says:

      Jackie, I agree that he can serve as an inspiration to young people on the autism spectrum. You parents are my heroes!

  4. Lisa says:

    I’m only about 5-7 minutes into the movie and it’s paused so I can research if Mark has Aspergers. I totally thought that from the opening scene. I’m completely convinced he does, as a specialist in the field who works with children with Autism, Aspergers and social disorders. Very interesting!

  5. Anne says:

    I am glad to see I am not alone!! I was thinking the ENTIRE movie that he had Asperger’s, but I did remember that he had nothing to do with the movie so I was not sure if this was an accurate portrayal of who he really is in real life. I know that labels can be good and bad, but I hope that someone in his position could let the rest of the world know if he truly has a diagnosis to give everyone hope! Regardless of what label he has (genius, gifted, spectrum, etc.) he still has his challenges that so many people face as well and he provides the inspiration that we can overcome them and be successful members of society. This is what all parents want for their children. It’ll be interesting to see if it ever comes out! Good luck to all of you!!

  6. karol tulp-magee says:

    I am with Lisa and the first 5 minutes.I am a psych.nurse who worked with children.Maybe in real life he does not have Asperger’s,but he certainly shows every sign in the film.He was not portrayed as a very nice person,but I don’t think he would know the difference.

  7. Farah says:

    This is too funny. someone mentioned to me that Einstein was thought to have had asperger’s, so I came online to see what aspereger’s is….after reading the description & having watched Social Network months ago I googled your same exact question!
    Glad to see I’m not the only one catching this 🙂 now, who is going to inform him of our diagnosis? 🙂

  8. Steve says:

    Clearly has social issues, the reason I am here was the same as most of you…after watching the movie you would have to assume he has AS. Steeling the photos at Harvard, and than invading facebook users privacy shows he doesn’t have an understanding of peoples feelings and right and wrong….he has issues, but money won’t be one of them lol

  9. dawn probert says:

    I am too about 10 mins in watching this with my 13 year old aspie son….had to google this and found this sight. My son says he has aspy radar and he is off the scale lol

  10. Deborah Rubin says:

    My step-son has Asperger’s….the whole time his father and I were watching the movie, I kept thinking “OMG! It’s Michael!!!”

    His father never saw it…….

    It was quite disturbing…..

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