Sean Parker 'abused and maligned by the media'

Former Facebook founding president Sean Parker sat on a panel at the eG8 Forum in Paris yesterday, where he was asked about Justin Timberlake's portrayal of him in The Social Network, and if Parker really is an involuntary celebrity.

"There certainly a certain irony in the fact that I was a founder of Napster and of Facebook," Parker said, mentioning the fact that the two companies helped transform social media into what it is now.

"The irony lies in the fact that I'm also one of the victims," he said. "I was abused and maligned by the media, largely the Internet media. Largely by unaffiliated bloggers with no standard of journalistic ethics who created this caricature of me."

"I watched as this character emerged week after week, whose antics were in some ways as entertaining to me as anyone else. I had my identity commandeered by the blogosphere and Twitter and Facebook," he explained.

Parker explained that his first instinct was to "withdraw", but he soon realised that he had to embrace the media's negative portrayal of him. "My first instinct was to withdraw. But what I realised was that my salvation was to embrace it: to publish more."

"We live in a world where reality is fiction and vice versa," Parker concluded. "In America, celebrities live entirely fictional lives, and that life to readers of tabloids is more real for them than reality."

He ended his answer by telling the moderator that the media is only "destructive of privacy" when one shuns the attention. But embracing social media, he says, is the only way he could reclaim his image.