Overruling an overwhelming vote by its readers for arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Facebook co-founder Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was on Wednesday named as the 'Person of the Year' by the Time magazine for "transforming" the way people connect around the world.
Zuckerberg beat out WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Assange, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Chilean miners to become the Person of the Year 2010 by the prestigious magazine.
He joins the long annual list of eminent persons Ben Bernanke, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, which was started by the Time magazine in 1927.
Managing editor Richard Stengel said Zuckerberg's Facebook was "transforming the way we live our lives every day."
"Being named as Time Person of the Year is a real honour and recognition of how our little team is building something that hundreds of millions of people want to use to make the world more open and connected.
I'm happy to be a part of that," Zuckerberg said.
Assange, currently behind bars in UK on Swedish sexual assault charges, is at the centre of a global uproar over WikiLeaks's leaking of secret US diplomatic cables.
Readers of Time magazine had voted overwhelmingly for him to be named "person of the year," followed by Lady Gaga, the US singer best known for her outlandish costumes.
The runners up chosen by Time were the conservative US Tea Party movement which made a big impact in recent midterm elections, followed by WikiLeaks founder Assange.
The Time said Zuckerberg is part of the last generation of human beings who will remember life before the Internet, though only just.
"He started Facebook as a way for people on college campuses to communicate with and keep track of one another — and occasionally poke each other and leer at each other's pictures — but in a broader sense he was firing the first shot in his generation's takeover of the Internet," the magazine wrote on its website.
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 US, the magazine wrote.