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Facebook founder 'Person of the Year'

New York, December 16, 2010

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive of the Facebook social networking site that has more than half a billion users, was named Time magazine's 2010 Person of the Year yesterday.

The magazine defines the Person of the Year as one who, for better or worse, does the most to influence the events of the year, according to a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.

"This year they passed 500 million users. The scale of Facebook is something that is transforming our lives. One in 10 people on the planet, and it's excluded in China where one in five people on the planet live," Time editor Richard Stengel said upon announcing the winner on NBC Television's Today show.

"It's not just a new technology. It's social engineering. It's changing the way we relate to each other. I actually think it's affecting human nature in a way that we have never even seen before."

Zuckerberg was a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard University in 2004 when he started a Web service called Thefacebook.com from his dorm. Now he is one of the world's youngest billionaires.

Zuckerberg pledged a $100 million donation to the Newark, New Jersey, school system this year, and he was the subject of the Hollywood movie The Social Network.

His philanthropy has put him in the company of media titans Carl Icahn, 74, Barry Diller, 68, and others who have joined The Giving Pledge, an effort led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to commit the country's wealthiest people to step up their charitable donations.

Zuckerberg owns about a quarter of Facebook's shares. At 26, Zuckerberg is the youngest winner since Charles Lindbergh was named the magazine's first person of the year in 1927 when he became the first pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

He beat out Britain's Queen Elizabeth by just two weeks: She was 26 when she was named in 1952. Incidentally, Queen Elizabeth has recently joined the social networking site.

The honour has become a cultural reference in the US. The award has had its controversy, such as when Adolf Hitler was named 1938.

US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was the 2009 winner. The 2008 winner was then-President-elect Barack Obama. The 2007 winner was Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Other previous winners include Bono, president George W Bush, and Amazon.com CEO and founder Jeff Bezos.

A Time poll showed readers favoured naming WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange this year but Stengel said the magazine's editors and correspondents chose Zuckerberg after consulting among themselves, past winners and other world luminaries.

The conservative Tea Party political movement was Time's second choice for 2010 followed by Assange, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the 33 trapped Chilean miners. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: New York | facebook | Time magazine | Zuckerberg | Person of the Year |

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