Zuckerberg is 'Person of the Year'
(Press Release) New York, December 15, 2010—In the most anticipated issue of the year, on sale Friday and available now on TIME.com, TIME names Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg the 2010 TIME Person of the Year. TIME's Person of the Year issue features the most comprehensive portrait of Zuckerberg to date, written by TIME's Lev Grossman with a series of exclusive interviews, photographs and video.
EDITOR RICK STENGEL ON TIME'S PERSON OF THE YEAR
"For connecting more than half-a-billion people and mapping the social relations among them (something that has never been done before); for creating a new system of exchanging information that has become both indispensable and sometimes a little scary; and finally, for changing how we all live our lives in ways that are innovative and even optimistic, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME's 2010 Person of the Year."
Stengel adds, "The social-networking platform he invented is closing in on 600 million users. In a single day, about a billion new pieces of content are posted on Facebook. It is the connective tissue for nearly a tenth of the planet. Facebook is now the third largest country on earth and surely has more information about its citizens than any government does. Zuckerberg, a Harvard dropout, is its T-shirt-wearing head of state."
Read Stengel's essay here.
EXCLUSIVE: IN A SERIES OF INTERVIEWS, ZUCKERBERG TELLS TIME:
On the film The Social Network: "I found it funny what details they focused on getting right. I think I owned every single T-shirt that they had me wearing. But the biggest thing that thematically they missed is the concept that you would have to want to do something-date someone or get into some final club-in order to be motivated to do something like this. It just like completely misses the actual motivation for what we're doing, which is, we think it's an awesome thing to do."
On what's next for Facebook: "I think the next five years are going to be about building out this social platform," Zuckerberg tells TIME, "It's about the idea that most applications are going to become social, and most industries are going to be rethought in a way where social design and doing things with your friends is at the core of how these things work. If the last five years was the ramping up, I think that the next five years are going to be characterized by widespread acknowledgment by other industries that this is the way that stuff should be and will be better."
On Wikileaks: "Well, at a very high level some of the themes could be connected. I mean we mostly make so you can understand what's going on with the people around you because we think that that helps you connect with them more broadly. I mean the wikileaks story is fascinating, but I also just don't think we're anywhere near the end of it. And I personally feel like, from the coverage that I've read, that I don't understand enough to fully comment on it, so I won't. But I do think it's a fascinating kind of turn of events, and watching how the different institutions react to it is also fascinating....We definitely don't wake up in the morning and think about toppling institutions. But one of the things that I think happens from people being able to share their opinions with their friends or more broadly. You know I really do think there is this concept where the best stuff spreads."
On the power of Facebook: "We have this concept of serendipity-humans do. A lucky coincidence. It's like you go to a restaurant and you bump into a friend that you haven't seen for a while. That's awesome. That's serendipitous. And a lot of the reason why that seems so magical is because it doesn't happen often. But I think the reality is that those circumstances aren't actually rare. It's just that we probably miss like 99% of it."
On the criticism that Facebook encourages lower-quality friendships: "That's been a criticism that people have had for a while," he says. "But this isn't zero-sum. I think what we're doing is enabling you to stay in touch with people who you otherwise wouldn't. When I'm at home and I want to talk to my girlfriend, I don't IM her. I walk downstairs, and we talk."
On government requests for information: "We feel like it's our responsibility to push back on that stuff," Zuckerberg says, "so oftentimes someone will come with a subpoena, and we'll go to court and say, 'We don't think this is enough.' Ultimately I think this stuff gets used for good."
Watch a video Q&A here.
TIME'S LEV GROSSMAN OFFERS THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE PROFILE OF ZUCKERBERG TO DATE
"The reality is that Zuckerberg isn't alienated, and he isn't a loner. He's the opposite. He's spent his whole life in tight, supportive, intensely connected social environments: first in the bosom of the Zuckerberg family, then in the dorms at Harvard and now at Facebook, where his best friends are his staff, there are no offices and work is awesome. Zuckerberg loves being around people. He didn't build Facebook so he could have a social life like the rest of us. He built it because he wanted the rest of us to have his."
Grossman also writes, "What generally gets left out [is that] Zuckerberg is a warm presence, not a cold one. He has a quick smile and doesn't shy away from eye contact. He thinks fast and talks fast, but he wants you to keep up. He exudes not anger or social anxiety but a weird calm. When you talk to his co-workers, they're so adamant in their avowals of affection for him and in their insistence that you not misconstrue his oddness that you get the impression it's not just because they want to keep their jobs. People really like him."
FACEBOOK COO SHERYL SANDBERG TELLS TIME ABOUT A FUTURE WHERE THE WEB IS BUILT AROUND PEOPLE:
"It's a shift from the wisdom of crowds to the wisdom of friends," say Sandberg. "It doesn't matter if 100,00 people like x. If the three people closest to you like y, you want to see y."
The December 27, 2010 Person of the Year issue of TIME goes on sale on Friday, December 17.