Mark Zuckerberg—Not Julian Assange—Voted TIME Person of the Year

By Andrew Moseman | December 15, 2010 11:23 am

Mark_ZuckerbergSocial networking or leaked secrets? TIME has made its choice, naming baby-faced Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg its 2010 person of the year rather than WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In gracing the cover of the venerable weekly news magazine, he joins a list that includes such historical figures as Joseph Stalin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He is one of the youngest recipients of the award. Charles Lindbergh, in 1927, was the youngest person ever to receive the recognition; he was 25. [Portfolio]

Given Facebook’s growing ubiquity in our lives, Zuckerberg could have been chosen any of the last several years. (Comedian John Hodgman needled TIME on Twitter to this effect, writing “Time Magazine just named its Person of The Year 2007.”) But in 2010 Zuckerberg couldn’t escape the zeitgeist, whether making news for fiddling with his social network’s privacy settings—again—or being the subject of an uncomfortable portrayal in the hit film The Social Network.

Runners-up for “Person of the Year” were the Tea Party movement, an upstart political group; Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan; Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, a website that publishes classified documents; and the Chilean miners, a group of 33 men who were trapped in a mine for more than two months. [BusinessWeek]

Indeed, Assange finished first in magazine’s online poll with Zuckerberg in a distant 10th (though on Facebook, the Facebook found and WikiLeaks leader both lost out to Lady Gaga).

On his Facebook page, Zuckerberg on Wednesday commented that “Being named as Time Person of the Year is 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.” [Washington Post]

Being chosen by the TIME editors was a double coup for Zuckerberg today: Facebook finished atop a survey of employee satisfaction as the best company to work for.

As usual, however, TIME’s selection has stirred up disagreement/bemusement/stupefaction. ComputerWorld called it a snub to WikiLeaks; Fortune suggests that Zuckerberg won out over Apple’s Steve Jobs as TIME’s chosen geek CEO because of his new openness to the media—and because the iPad hasn’t saved the magazine industry yet. It’s far from the only curious choice in the award’s history.

Speaking of Facebook, find DISCOVER there.

Related Content:
80beats: Facebook Unveils Its Messaging System—Just Don’t Call It Email
80beats: The Facebook Movie: Fact or Fiction?
80beats: Facebook Adds Location Feature, Subtracts Privacy (Again)
80beats: Facebook CEO: People Don’t Really Want Privacy Nowadays, Anyway

Image: Wikimedia Commons

  • nick

    Considering the Tea Party movement was a runner up, all I see is Time’s increasing irrelevance to anything of actual importance. There’s a reason the iPad hasn’t saved the magazine industry yet, and that reason seems to be the magazine industry.

  • Charles Schmidt

    This kind of thing that Time does will be what kills them who cares about Zuckerberg or face book how has it helped people or the country? If that is the best that they can do they will go down faster than they are.

  • Chris Taus

    Although I wouldn’t call him Person of the Year, I’d definitely say he’s the most INFLUENTIAL Person of the Year– And quite possibly the decade.

  • QuietDesperation

    Why does anyone care? Has Time magazine even been relevant this century?

  • cray

    Nick, if you think the Tea Party wasn’t influential in 2010, you’re either not paying attention, or you’re letting your political biases cloud your thinking. Love them or hate them, the Tea Partiers had a tremendous impact on this country this year, and dismissing them with a wave of the hand is incredibly juvenile.

  • Albert Bakker

    As was shown with great clarity to the world the US regime can order Amazon and the biggest plastic bankers around as if they were trained dogs any time they so wish. One brief, but apparently very lucid call from Uncle Joe (Lieberman) and the matter was settled.

    That was very impressive.

    So I think it’s pretty courageous of Time to have allowed Assange to so demonstratively win the public vote. Even if they have to settle for a certain friendly mr. Zuckerbrot or something or other, nevertheless it is part of the story now. Of course, one always has to remember that it’s their magazine and they can do whatever they want with it.

    Well, just as long as it doesn’t upset Uncle Joe too much.

  • Vikram Teva Raj

    Don’t confuse the issue, the way Time has confused the issue for ages because of its desire for political access.

    This is what the corporate media the small-government people at Fox News want gets you.

    I note that Washington Post is now literally hosting meet-the-senators dinners for special interests.

    The deal here is one of you rub my back, I rub yours.

    And this is not the government per se. Remember how Liebermann helped maintain the status of most expensive healthcare system per capita, and literally third world healthcare, by opposing the public option. This is the establishment at work.

    The Tea Partiers are interesting in a demonstration of a business model. I note that 13 of their representatives’ chiefs of staffs are lobbyists.

    Also, the number of earmarks they snuck into the bills they are opposing.

    There needs to be a site better than at explaining political motivations.

  • bs

    Ridiculous. Asange was clearly the ‘man of the year’. Time magazine has just lost all credibility for it’s “gutless” choice. sad state that a passing fad is confused with world changing politics….

  • Illusions

    Popular media is little more than a propaganda machine, including Time, so it doesnt surprise me. Of course Facebook is more important than what Julian Assange is doing. What could be more anti-American-politics than the idea of an informed public? I can barely even watch the “news” because of the lack of actual information and the excess of fluff on even supposedly news only channels.


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