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Web cheers, jeers Zuckerberg's Time magazine nod

Doug Gross
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tech observers have mixed reactions to Mark Zuckerberg's Time magazine honor
  • Bloggers say the way Facebook CEO has changed how people communicate is hard to deny
  • Others say WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, Tea Party should have been named instead

(CNN) -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is Time magazine's Person of the Year, and, predictably, the internet has some thoughts about it.

Many in the tech blogosphere say it's hard to argue with the Time distinction for the man who steered the social-networking juggernaut to more than half a billion users.

"[I]t's clear that Facebook has, in fact, been at the center of electrifying change in the way that we communicate with the people around us and share information," wrote Caroline McCarthy of CNET. "And if Zuckerberg's relentlessly hands-on approach with Facebook -- which seems to have grown even closer and more obvious over the years -- is any sign, this could not have happened without the young, flip-flops-clad CEO."

Others cited all the attention Facebook received this year for its privacy flaps, its efforts to spread its features to other areas of the Web and the hit movie "The Social Network."

But not all the chatter was positive.

Ed Morrissey of the conservative political blog Hot Air said he was "underwhelmed."

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"Apparently, Time didn't know that Facebook launched in February 2004, and had achieved the status of most-trafficked social network by the end of 2008," Morrissey wrote. "If the issue was impact, it seems as though Time is two years too late in awarding this."

He argued the Tea Party movement should have gotten the distinction or possibly Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Assange topped a Time online poll (with allegations of digital ballot stuffing soon following) that asked users who the magazine should name Person of the Year. (Zuckerberg was 10th.)

Computerworld blogger Richi Jennings called Zuckerberg's selection "a snub to WikiLeaks."

"Did Time cave in to political pressure? I neither know nor care," Jennings wrote. "What I do know is that this year's choice is simply ludicrous."

An online poll on The Huffington Post was split right down the middle Wednesday afternoon, with a little more than 50 percent of respondents saying Time made the wrong choice and just under 50 percent saying it didn't.

Some other thoughts from around the blogosphere:

Stan Schroeder, Mashable: "Zuckerberg's accomplishments in 2010 are truly outstanding: he cemented Facebook's status as the biggest social network and one of the hottest Internet companies, surging past 500 million users. He's one of the world's youngest billionaires, and recently he pledged to give the majority of his wealth to charity."

Leena Rao, TechCrunch: "Zuckerberg isn't a surprising pick, considering the huge year Facebook has seen in terms of massive user growth, controversy surrounding privacy issues, and the release of new products. And 'The Social Network's' success also contributed to the media frenzy surrounding the company and its founder."

Jared Newman, PCWorld: "Wait, what? A week ago, Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, seemed like a (shoo-in). The editors had already made up their minds, sources told the Drudge Report. Even Time's readers came down on Assange's side, picking him for Person of the Year in a popular vote that ended this week. ...

"(E)ssentially, Time's decision came down to this: Pick the man whose work brought together more than 500 million people, or the man whose work exposed dirty secrets and sent governments into panic mode. Time chose warm and fuzzy."

[TECH: NEWSPULSE]

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