‘Social Network’ Star Jesse Eisenberg Says Internet Can Be ‘Cruel’

'It's incredibly painful to read it, so I stay off of it,' actor says of reading about himself online.

Early in “The Social Network,” a young Mark Zuckerberg returns to his Harvard dorm after getting dumped by his girlfriend. The future Facebook CEO fires up his computer and promptly begins to trash his ex online, writing on his blog, among other things, that she’s hardly as busty as she likes to claim.

It’s spiteful stuff, and leaves her in tears. And it’s just that sort of harsh commentary that has led Jesse Eisenberg, who plays Zuckerberg in the new film, to avoid reading about himself online.

“I know that I’m written about online — we’re all written about online,” he told MTV News. “It’s incredibly painful to read it, so I stay off of it. People can write things that are terribly cruel because of the anonymity of the Internet.”

Not everybody on the Web, though, slings hate in his direction. In the summer of 2009, as word of a Facebook movie broke, we suggested Eisenberg was the best choice to play the curly-haired, flip-flop-wearing Zuckerberg. When we reminded Eisenberg that many folks on the Internet tagged him as the best fit for the role, he remained skeptical. “That happens to be something nice, but once you read something like that, you’ll read 10 things that are bad, and then you can’t sleep at night,” he said.

At least he says that now. Back in the fall of ’09, when Eisenberg’s name came up in “Social Network” casting rumors, we asked the actor if there was any truth to all the gossip, and he jokingly admitted that he was an obsessive self-Googler.

“I read about that online. I search my name every day,” Eisenberg deadpanned. “I do it manually, because Google Alerts you can’t trust. I have a lawyer do it for me in my bathroom.”

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