Zuckerberg launched the social networking site Facebook in 2004 while he was still a student at Harvard University. He dropped out to work full time on the website. In six years, the site has grown to more than 500 million users worldwide, and Zuckerberg is one of the world's youngest billionaires.
Zuckerberg was ill portrayed in this year's blockbuster hit "The Social Network," which has earned six Golden Globe nominations. The movie alleges that Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from other Harvard students.
In September, Zuckerberg announced a $100 million donation to Newark public schools, which had been plagued for years by low test scores and poor graduation rates.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke received the honor last year. The 2008 winner was then-President-elect Barack Obama. The 2007 winner was Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Other previous winners have included Bono, President George W. Bush, and Amazon.com CEO and founder Jeff Bezos.
Time's "Person of the Year" is the person or thing that has most influenced the culture and the news during the past year for good or for ill.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.