Facebook CEO Named 'Person of the Year' for 2010

Dennis Faas's picture

Millions saw the critically-acclaimed film based on Facebook's rise from dorm-room foolery to international sensation. Even more significant may be the number of people (approximately 500 million) that own accounts on Facebook's web site. No wonder, then, that its controversial CEO has been named Time Magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2010.

Mark Zuckerberg is one of the world's youngest billionaires; he's also now the youngest Time Person of the Year since 1927, when aviator Charles Lindbergh won the award. Queen Elizabeth was also quite young when Time Magazine gave her the honor, but Zuckerberg is two weeks younger than she was in 1952.

Zuckerberg Has 'Dramatic Influence on Culture'

By definition, Time Magazine awards its Person of the Year honor to someone who has the most dramatic influence on culture -- whether it's for good, or bad. Notable past winners include Barack Obama in 2008, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2007, George W. Bush, and rock legend Bono from U2.

This year, a list of runners-up included Apple CEO Steve Jobs, WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, and late-night comedian Conan O'Brien. (Source: appleinsider.com)

In commenting on its decision to give Zuckerberg the award, Time noted that the Facebook CEO was notable "for changing how we all live our lives."

Zuckerberg responded to the Time honor on Wednesday by crediting those around him at Facebook, saying that it was "a real honor and recognition of how our little team is building something that hundreds of millions of people want to use to make the world more open and connected. I'm happy to be a part of that." (Source: businessweek.com)

Philanthropy Helps Wounded Image

It's not just Zuckerberg's work with Facebook that has made him a Person of the Year, however. He sent shockwaves earlier this year by pledging an incredible $100 million over a span of five years to the Newark, New Jersey school system. Most recently, he joined Giving Pledge, a group of America's wealthiest individuals committed to increasing donations to charities.

Perhaps all of this philanthropy is an attempt by Zuckerberg to distance himself from a slightly less-than-flattering portrayal in David Fincher's movie "The Social Network," based on Facebook's beginnings at Harvard and the chaos that ensued. The movie largely surrounds Zuckerberg's fight for ownership of the company.

As of December 5, 2010, The Social Network movie has grossed more than $90 million. (Source: imdb.com)

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