Facebook founder Zuckerberg is Time’s Person of Year

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WASHINGTON - Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was Wednesday named Time magazine’s “2010 Person of the Year” “for connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them” by starting the world’s largest social-networking site in 2004.

The prestigious US publication said it chose Zuckerberg, 26, for “creating a new system of exchanging information” and “changing how we all live our lives.”

The service, with more than 500 million users, has helped people connect with each other and changed definitions of privacy, Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel said in a letter on the magazine’s website.

Zuckerberg created Facebook for college students when he was a sophomore at Harvard University. Eventually opening up site to users outside of higher education, the company surpassed News Corp’s MySpace as the world’s biggest social network two years ago.

“There is an erosion of trust in authority, a decentralising of power and at the same time, perhaps, a greater faith in one another,” Stengel said. “More than anyone else on the world stage, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is at the centre of those changes.”

Zuckerberg is tied for No.35 on the 2010 list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, according to the Forbes ranking. His wealth jumped 245 percent to $6.9 billion, the largest percentage increase on the annual list, the magazine said.

He is a year older than Time’s first person of the year, Charles Lindbergh, the aviator who made the first solo trans-Atlantic flight. Time, owned by Time Warner Inc., started the annual selection in 1927.

Runners-up for the accolade were conservative political movement, the Tea Party, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the Chilean Miners. Singer Lady Gaga, and Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs figured among the other finalists.

Last year’s winner was Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, America’s central bank. US President Barack Obama was chosen in 2008.

Previous winners include former President Bill Clinton, Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and, in 1982, the Computer.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

Filed under: Apple, Facebook, MySpace, World

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