Time magazine has named Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the social networking website Facebook, as its 2010 Person of the Year.
The 26-year-old was chosen "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," Time said.
The magazine's editors bestow the distinction "on the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year."
Which Person of the Year finalist had the biggest impact this year? Take our survey.
Runners-up included WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the conservative Tea Party organization, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the rescued Chilean miners.
Zuckerberg is the second-youngest person to have been chosen by the magazine since it began naming a person of the year in 1927, managing editor Rick Stengel announced Wednesday morning on NBC's Today show.
Zuckerberg's prominence was also reflected in one of 2010's most talked-about movies, The Social Network, which dramatized the account of how Zuckerberg and his friends created Facebook.
The David Fincher movie — which portrays Zuckerberg as a power-hungry, back-stabbing, socially awkward programming savant — has been named the year's best film by several groups, including the U.S. National Board of Review as well as critics' associations in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto.
Past winners include:
- Then president-elect Barack Obama, in 2008.
- President George W. Bush, in 2000 and 2004.
- The computer, in 1982.
- Martin Luther King Jr., in 1963, five years before his assassination.
- Queen Elizabeth, in 1952, the year of her coronation.
The first — and youngest — winner was the aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, who was 25 when he selected. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was last year's winner.
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, not 1963, as an earlier version of this story reported.Dec 15, 2010 9:28 AM ET