He doesn’t. He says he does, but he doesn’t.
The Facebook, when launched, did have a requirement, “You must have a harvard.edu address to register” but it would become more about who you know - just like college cliques. (The exclusivity just to Harvard.edu idea was the Harvard Connection site planned by the Winklevoss concern, and ill advisedly handed over to Zuckerberg to leverage.)
”People came to FaceSmash in a stampede right? But it wasn’t because they saw pictures of hot girls. You can go anywhere on the Internet and see pictures of hot girls. It’s because they saw pictures of girls that they know. People want to go online and see their friends, so why not build a site that offers that…. It would be exclusive. [in the sense that] You would have to know the people on the site to get past your own page, like getting punched. [Friended] It’s like a Final club but we’re the president.” … “I’m talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online. That is what this site is about.”
The movie shows Zuckerberg’s nimble transformation of his original hack FaceSmash, to include Eduardo’s algorithm, then the Winklevoss idea of exclusivity, and glomming on a bunch of other friend’s ideas (e.g. relationship status), and then leveraging Sean Parker’s business experience of losing control of his prior company to investors (but who’s leveraging who?), and snowballing all of that up into Facebook – gloriously! That’s the whole plot structure of the movie: that most of Facebook wasn’t original, but you still have to do the work, and be the guy who is smart enough to turn that over into a profitable company. In that sense, it really is a parable of all of business and great companies.
So the firstname.lastname@example.org email list from Eduardo (to every member of The Phoenix – SK Club) was about putting a best foot forward and starting it off with the cool clique and growing page hits organically from that, vs. starting with a bunch of “dorks”. In the movie Mark did say, “These guys know people, and I need their emails”, but he was playing Eduardo to get the address. The 22,000 hits were generated by sending an email to just 3 people. When you look at the original and current site functionality, he in fact did not need it. The only reason he “needed” it was to stick a finger in the eye of the privileged by using them, and proving the “American dream” is still true by having nothing but intelligence and a great college education to create unimaginable wealth and success in this land. This is contrasted expertly with the tradition of the Winklevoss boys and their code of honor - that nice boys finished last.
So, you don’t have to be a WASP, and a dominant alpha male to succeed in America today. You have to be smart. This is what our education system now promotes and what we have before us in theory and in practice. Like Hemingway, judging the black-hat vs. white-hat thing is up to the viewer and their life experience.
He did not need the list to make the site successful. He needed it as a matter of principle.