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TIME names Facebook's Zuckerberg its Person of the Year

Update: Magazine says he's deserving 'for changing how we all live our lives'

By Paul McNamara on Wed, 12/15/10 - 8:58am.

Mark Zuckerberg

In a decision that will doubtlessly disappoint - if not infuriate - supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, TIME Magazine this morning has named Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg it's 2010 Person of the Year.

I guess they liked the movie.

TIME says on its Web site:

For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them; for creating a new system of exchanging information; and for changing how we all live our lives, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME's 2010 Person of the Year.

The four runners-up were: Assange, the Tea Party, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, and the rescued Chilean miners.

Assange was the overwhelming choice of those who voted in TIME's non-binding online poll.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was TIME's 2009 Person of the Year. The 2008 winner was Then-President-elect Barack Obama received the award in 2008 andRussian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the year before.

While those individuals play in a different league than Zuckerberg, obviously, it's not as though TIME is breaking ground with the choice of an Internet mogul, as Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos won in 1999.

(Update: Zuckerberg at 26 is the second youngest TIME Person of the Year. A 25-year-old Charles Lindbergh was the youngest when he was named the magazine's first Man of the Year in 1927.)

(Update 2: TIME compares Zuckerberg to Assange: "In a sense, Zuckerberg and Assange are two sides of the same coin. Both express a desire for openness and transparency. While Assange attacks big institutions and governments through involuntary transparency with the goal of disempowering them, Zuckerberg enables individuals to voluntarily share information with the idea of empowering them. Assange sees the world as filled with real and imagined enemies; Zuckerberg sees the world as filled with potential friends. Both have a certain disdain for privacy: in Assange's case because he feels it allows malevolence to flourish; in Zuckerberg's case because he sees it as a cultural anachronism, an impediment to a more efficient and open connection between people.")

(Update 3: Comedian Andy Borowitz unleashes the snark at The Huffington Post: "The editors of Time ignited a firestorm of controversy today by being the first people ever to call Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg a person.")