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Facebook founder is Time's 'Person of the Year'

Last updated on: December 16, 2010 13:19 IST

Facebook founder is Time's 'Person of the Year'

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Time magazine has chosen Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as its 'Person of the Year' in 2010.

The founder of the social networking site was named Person of the Year 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," according to the magazine.

Time adds, "The social-networking platform he invented is closing in on 600 million users. In a single day, about a billion new pieces of content are posted on Facebook. It is the connective tissue for nearly a tenth of the planet. Facebook is now the third largest country on earth and surely has more information about its citizens than any government does. Zuckerberg, a Harvard dropout, is its T-shirt-wearing head of state."

Also read: For Time readers, Assange is Person of the Year


Image: Mark Zuckerberg
Photographs: Reuters
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The Tea Party movement

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The list of runners up had quite a few surprises.

The Tea Party movement, a protest-oriented political force in the United States that advocates a smaller government and reduced spending, was ranked at number 2. The populist movement has gained unprecedented popularity across the US, even though it has never fielded a candidate in an electoral battle.

"Tea Partyism is in certain respects a purely contemporary wave. It spread like wildfire, upending dozens of elections, yet has not coalesced around a single leader, a single agenda or even a common name," says the magazine.

But Time also raises the question, "The Tea Party is a hot brand, but there's no one in power to enforce the trademark. Now that the bailouts are history and Democratic hegemony is broken, what does it stand for?"


Image: A person with a sign referring to the Tea Party movement stands amidst thousands in Washington
Photographs: Evan Falk/Reuters
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Julian Assange

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He was named Person of the Year by the readers of Time. But the magazine overruled the choice of its readers by placing the maverick founder of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks as the second runner up on its list.

"In 2010, WikiLeaks became a revolutionary force, wresting secrets into the public domain on a scale without precedent. Assange and company wrought deep disruptions in the marketplace of state power. The currency of information, scattered to the four corners of the globe, is roiling not only US foreign relations but also the alliances and internal politics of other nations," says Time.

The magazine warns, "Whatever his fate in courts British, Swedish or American, he had built a machine that no one knew how to stop and loosed it on the world."


Photographs: Reuters
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Hamid Karzai

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Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has widely been perceived as an incompetent head of state running a thoroughly corrupt regime. According to WikiLeaks cables, the US administration believed that Karzai was a paranoid politician who believed in conspiracy theories.

So how does he make it to the illustrious list?

Time explains its choice, "If personal merit were the sole standard for selection, Karzai wouldn't be one of the Persons of the Year. He is a man who, over time, has proved his utter lack of distinction. He is, however, the central figure in the foreign policy conundrum of the year: What to do about the war in Afghanistan? And he, more than any other Afghan, will determine the outcome."


Image: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai with US President Barack Obama
Photographs: Reuters
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The Chilean miners

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The rescue of the 33 miners, who were trapped thousands of feet beneath the earth's surface for 69 days, was one of the most watched events in 2010. Millions of people across the globe watched breathlessly as a rescue team worked relentlessly to save the miners, drilling a 2,067ft shaft which finally brought out the group of grateful men.

"Their miraculous survival and rescue this year inspired a world desperate for a happy ending to something, anything," said Time.

The magazine adds, "The miners have since been welcomed from Beijing to Broadway, and they're learning to cope with their newfound fame -- to handle finances, endorse products and negotiate deals. But what many say they'd like more than anything is a good night's sleep."


Image: Trapped miner Esteban Rojas kneels to pray after reaching the surface
Photographs: Reuters
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