Facebook's origin story has been told and retold so many times, in so many formats, that you might think all the juicy details about the social network's early days would have come to light by now.
Not so, apparently, according to a Vanity Fair interview with Chamath Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist and former Facebook executive. While dispensing advice that startups should not waste money on extravagant food, Palihapitiya casually dropped this explosive revelation:
"I can tell you what it was like at early Facebook: the food was terrible; we’d ship in lunch and probably two to three times a week the lunch had maggots in it. But we were there because we believed, and it didn’t matter."
This raises a number of questions. First of all, how did the maggots get into the lunches? Did they come from a Palo Alto restaurant? If so, why did Facebook employees continue to order food from there?
Was the food simply so delicious that it was worth the risk of there being maggots?
The maggots appeared two to three times a week, Palihapitiya says. That is a lot of maggots, by any standard.
So was Palihapitiya perhaps joking? Exaggerating?
BuzzFeed News reached out to a partner at his firm, Social Capital, just to check. "I don't have any additional context," the partner, Ashley Mayer, said in an email.
What does Facebook have to say about these maggot-filled lunches? BuzzFeed News sent a note to Elliot Schrage, Facebook's vice president of communications and public policy, to try to get to the bottom of this mystery.
His emailed response: "lol."