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Time Names Mark Zuckerberg its 2010 Person of the Year

Facebook founder edges Julian Assange and the Tea Party for magazine’s honor

Time named Mark Zuckerberg as its 2010 Person of the Year on Wednesday.

The magazine said the Facebook founder beat several runners-up — Julian Assange, Hamid Karzai, Chilean Miners and the Tea Party — for the annual honor.

Time editor Richard Stengel said Zuckerberg deserved the Person of the Year tag 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.”

Stengel also said Zuckerberg and Assange have a lot in common. "Both express a desire for openness and transparency," he wrote in his introductory essay. "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."

At 26, Zuckerberg is one of the youngest Time Persons of the Year — but not the youngest. Charles Lindbergh, Time’s first Person of the Year, was 25. Queen Elizabeth, 1952’s Person of the Year, was also 26.