Time magazine has named Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg as its person of the year.
Zuckerberg set up the social networking site in 2004 when he was 19. Now 26, he has become the world’s youngest billionaire, with an estimated fortune of $14bn.
In July, Facebook announced it had half a billion users worldwide. It is now growing at a rate of 700,000 new members a day and is closing in on the 600- million mark. If Facebook was a country, it would be the third largest in the world, after India and China, according to Time.
The conservative Tea Party political movement was selected for second place by Time, followed by Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, Afghan president Hamid Karzai, and the 33 trapped Chilean miners.
Despite coming third in this list, Assange won the Time readers’ poll for 2010’s most influential person. Zuckerberg came tenth.
Richard Stengel, Time editor, said Zuckerberg was both a product of his generation and an architect of it.
He said: "Zuckerberg and Assange are two sides of the same coin. Both express a desire for openness and transparency."
Earlier this month, Zuckerberg joined the Giving Pledge, set up by billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, to give away half of his wealth to good causes.