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Posted at 8:08 AM ET, 12/15/2010

Mark Zuckerberg beats Julian Assange for Time's 2010 Person of the Year

By Melissa Bell
Ines Sainz
Mark Zuckerberg (Paul Sakuma/AP)

Despite Julian Assange handily winning the online vote, the editors of Time opted for Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, as their person of the year. The editor's letter said, "There is an erosion of trust in authority, a decentralizing of power and at the same time, perhaps, a greater faith in one another," and that Zuckerberg is at the center of these changes.

In perhaps an attempt to quell any anger from Assange supporters, the editor's letter compares the two men, calling them "two sides of the same coin."

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.

Faster forward has more on Zuckerberg's win here.

What do you think of the choice?

Here's the announcement from the Today Show:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

No brainer really. --> RT @TIME TIME's 2010 Person of the Year has just been announced: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. than a minute ago via web

Time person of the year a bit of a cop-out. Also I don't like Facebook. than a minute ago via Cortex

Wasnt this kinda covered when "I/Me/You/Us" won it in '06? @cnnbrk: #Facebook CEO Mark #Zuckerberg named Time magazine's Person of the Year.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

Time magazine chickened out and named Zuckerberg person of the year. But we all know that the *real* person of the year is Assange.less than a minute ago via web

Thank God it wasn't Justin Bieber! // @LanceUlanoff: Zuckerberg is Time's Person of the Year /via: @HeatherOless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPad

Mark Zuckerberg named as a well deserved Time Magazine Person of the Yearless than a minute ago via web

By Melissa Bell  | December 15, 2010; 8:08 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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TIME caved.

Posted by: justsit | December 15, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

This is an absolutely joke. I never had much to begin with, but I just lost any and all respect for the person of the year award.

"There is an erosion of trust in authority, a decentralizing of power and at the same time, perhaps, a greater faith in one another,"

And you go with the CEO of a social networking site? Are you kidding me? Are you claiming that Facebook is somehow reverting these things?

Time's Person of the Year award is officially meaningless.

Posted by: PosiKris | December 15, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | December 15, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

This was a no-brainer well-deserved choice. Zuckerberg and those like him are revolutionizing communications in a positive way for the future. How we use these contributions is up to us but kudos to those who provide the tools.

It's encouraging to see a significant long-term contribution recognized over the 15-minute fame newsmakers that we find everyday in the media.

Posted by: TomMiller1 | December 15, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

This is all because of a movie, right?

Posted by: forgetthis | December 15, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The funny thing is that everyone hates Facebook these days!

Posted by: MrWillie | December 15, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

OK if TIME wanted Mark all alone why insult voters by holding a poll...duhhhh?

Let me tell you why I agree with this choice. I don't use FB but listening to my daughters tell me tales of the people they have tracked down or contacted them is amzing to me. These kids hold meetings on FB with all the clubs and special pages. Look how long it took my daughters to get me to txt now I LUV it. Gives me privacy talking on the phone didn't. I plan to join FB to find some old military friends. Lord I hope my girls (one is a Buckeye) have my pics private. hahahaha

POTY award is someone who makes change and I think Mark has done that. Ask Tina Turner "When SNL and a movie spoofs've arrived!!!" Congrats Mark.

Posted by: MDlady2 | December 15, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Time magazine has no guts to choose Julian Assange because he is too controversial.

That's always mainstream media's attitude. They are the filter of the truth and they tend to be timid and hypocritical, occupying in the middle, not to offend anybody. This makes Julian Assange's presence even more remarkable.

Julian Assange is a revoluntionary visionary created by this Internet age. He is the embodiment of the changing world with a disruptive power.

It is too bad that he is not the 2010 person of the year.

Posted by: wenmay2002 | December 15, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: angelinawire | December 15, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

This is actually the perfect pick for Time Magazine because it reflects the shortcomings of "Old Media" trying to remain relevant in a Media2.0 era.

One of the many critiques of the "Old Media" (traditional magazines like Time, Newsweek, as well as newspapers generally and some aspects of Cable news) is that they're too slow to adapt to the times. So, for example, you'll see CNN anchors reading blog posts and random facebook pages, as if that somehow makes CNN edgier or more relevant with the times.

In this instance, we have Time annointing the founder of facebook as there person of the year. Well this would've been a great pick one or two years ago. But, in 2010, it's indisptable that the one person who has influenced the world the most this year, is Julian Assange. That Time would pick as PotY, the person from two years ago, instead of the person staring them straight in the face, is pretty revealing of how behind on the times magazines such as Time are.

If they can't even make their signature article/item of the year relevant, then what good are they for anyway? I can get better content, analysis and view point diversity just by reading a bunch of informed blogs. If I wanted to be treated like I'm a yokle, who lives on a farm, just got connected to the internetz, and pretend like the world is in the 1950's, then I'll read Time magazine.

Posted by: nattyb | December 15, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Good choice. I check Facebook every morning in the hopes of seeing an update from my son in Afghanistan. It allows me to know that at some recent point in time he was safe. It has been a Godsend.

Julian, bless his troubled little heart, has been the source some levity with the diplomatic cables but has added nothing to what I already understood about the state of our world and our nation's place in it.

Posted by: lmmbham | December 15, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Mark Zuckerberg?

As shallow a choice as Facebook itself.

Posted by: jeclose | December 15, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

A perfect choice for a future without artificial borders.

Posted by: semmi | December 15, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Who really gives a rip? This is Time Magazine, for God's sake, not the Washington Post (just having a ha, ha). Does anyone even read that rag anymore? I haven't in 10+ years. It has 0 cred.

By the way, who is Mark Zuckerberg, anyway?

Posted by: washpost16 | December 15, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I rarely use Facebook - frankly, it's a pain in the butt to navigate. I don't see how this person is any sort of newsmaker ... there were certainly bigger, more important global events/news stories this year than Facebook or WikiLeaks - what about the election? Economy? North/South Korea? Haiti? Iran? Time Magazine is a joke.

Posted by: ounanm1 | December 15, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Facebook exposes the public to Big Brother, WikiLeaks exposes Big Brother to the public. And the winner is ....

Posted by: ratl | December 15, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I heard Palin is filing suit.

Posted by: gpsman | December 15, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Who really gives a rip? This is Time Magazine, for God's sake, not the Washington Post (just having a ha, ha). Does anyone even read that rag anymore? I haven't in 10+ years. It has 0 cred.

By the way, who is Mark Zuckerberg, anyway?

Posted by: washpost16 | December 15, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Zuckerberg stole the code for Facebook from twin brothers at Harvard who hired him to work on a part of it. This is whom Time names as Person of the Year??????????
Thieves, thugs, and celebrities. These are the kinds of people we now worship in this country. No wonder we are sliding down the slope of irrelevance. If it weren't for our nukes, we would get no respect at all!

Posted by: shapiromarilyn | December 15, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

What a limp choice. Zuckerberg is as important as the founder of MySpace was before him. And who founded MySpace? Exactly - we don't know and don't care.

What happens on Facebook doesn't matter. It doesn't empower anyone, it just wastes time. It's for people who want to spend less time on their work or with their families.

Assange is a truly important figure in the world, whose work may play a part in changing history. He has shown how the Internet empowers an individual to take on the mightiest government when the individual has truth on his side.

Maybe the publishers of Time are looking for a buy-out by Facebook. That might explain this otherwise unintelligible selection.

Posted by: pundito | December 15, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

wenmay2002 - "Time magazine has no guts to choose Julian Assange because he is too controversial."

I agree with you that Mr. Assange would have been a much more interesting choice, and that in the long run the largeness of the doors he has opened will be more readily appreciated for their impact than will be the development of "just another social networking site," no matter how successful Facebook may be.

I would disagree that Time has avoided Mr. Assange to avoid controversy (Putin was picked in 2007, Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, Stalin and Hitler in 1942 and 1938 respectively...).

Posted by: kingpigeon | December 15, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

What did you expect from a conservative magazine? They are just playing the same old game that the mainstream media does...
The only good thing about this Zuckenberg guy is that D.Fincher made a very good movie about him. That is all.
Who knows, maybe next year will be Christine O'donnel!

Posted by: emelki1968 | December 15, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Of course the choice makes sense. Look how many of us, kids, adults, and business, are using Zuckerberg's creation in our lives almost daily. Sure, some reject Facebook, or don't understand it. But the vast number of adherents makes clear it's as essential as email, or a replacement for it. No brainer. Who else would they pick? Bristol Palin? C'mon.

Posted by: lindsaycurren | December 15, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Assange did more to influence history more than Zuckerberg did. While I appreciate Facebook for allowing me to intermittently track down old friends over the years, it really hasn't changed my life for the good. I learned things about people that I did not want or care to know. Also, I nervous that everything I write will be used against me some how. In some ways, having facebook is just more of a liability. With Zuckerberg winning, I guess it mean bigger things for Facebook, there was a poll this morning about what the TIME award means for Facebook's future. I'm guessing it will be a battle over our personal data.

Posted by: ElsieW1n | December 15, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

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