Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg named TIME's Person of the Year 2010

TIME magazine has named Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg its Person of the Year 2010, suggesting that the site which "started out as a lark" has now gone on to change "the way human beings relate to each other." The news will undoubtedly come as a disappointment to those who see Facebook's growth eroding real-world interpersonal relationships and point to the ways the site leverages its users' personal data for financial reward.

"In less than seven years, Zuckerberg wired together a twelfth of humanity into a single network, thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S. If Facebook were a country it would be the third largest, behind only China and India. It started out as a lark, a diversion, but it has turned into something real, something that has changed the way human beings relate to one another on a species-wide scale. We are now running our social lives through a for-profit network that, on paper at least, has made Zuckerberg a billionaire six times over." TIME

Admittedly, TIME editor Richard Stengel does at least acknowledge some of the controversy around Facebook, crediting Zuckerberg for "creating a new system of exchanging information that has become both indispensable and sometimes a little scary."

TIME's runners-up include The Tea Party movement, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, and the thirty-three Chilean Miners trapped underground for seventy days. Meanwhile, noted for their "15 Minutes of Fame" are exasperated ex-Jet Blue steward Steven Slater, the Old Spice Guy and Paul "Double Rainbow" Vasquez.