Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why Facebook Founder is Man of the Year

Time Magazine’s latest issue has on its cover a close-up photo of a blue-eyed, freckled, common-looking American. It definitely didn’t grab my fleeting attention as I glanced over several other titles. But just as I was about to navigate away from the page…


I just had to know. Why is a face not as famous as Lady Gaga’s in a Man of the Year cover? But then again, that would be leaning too much on the superficial, on face-value. True enough, I found out that the face is owned by THE Facebook founder and CEO Mark Elliot Zuckerberg. My fault for not being familiar with the face that launched 600 million social network accounts.

But what is ‘Man of the Year’ really? It is the person, group, couple, idea, place, machine or thing that “for better or for worse,…has done the most to influence the events of the year.” In other words, even a despised person could win the title if it is proven that he has most influenced the culture and the news during the past year. After all, George W. Bush was 2004 Man of the Year allegedly for reshaping the rules of politics to fit his style, albeit displeasing many.

So here comes the question. (Drum roll please) Is Zuckerberg named as 2010 Man of the Year because he has most influenced the world culture in good terms? An answer is readily provided by Time’s editors: “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.” (Click here to see the short but complete article. My favorite is the part where Zuckerberg and Julian Assange are excellently juxtaposed as opposite sides of the same coin. Assange was a strong contender this year.)

But together with these unparalleled feats of Zuckerberg is the perpetration of cybercrimes. Earlier this month, a Facebook subscriber named Robert Hull was arrested on pornography charges for brazenly sharing child pornography pictures and videos on Facebook. According to internet safety experts, Facebook has failed to curtail such practices. In fact, the man was arrested due to the efforts of a group of concerned netizens, which was frustrated at Facebook’s lack of action. (Click here for the full story)

With all the money Zuckerberg earns, why not get to the bottom of this issue? He has after all the means, in financial and influential terms alike, to successfully solve this concern. Hopefully in 2011 when Facebook would still be part of our day-to-day lives, he’d take his second Man of the Year title. And hopefully that time, it will be truly based on purely good terms.

- Phebean Belle A. Ramos, entry #5 

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