Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook, Newark Schools, The Social Network — TIME’s Person of the Year?

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Paul Sakuma / AP

More than 500 million people have chosen to follow his vision for the (sometimes) all-day social addiction.

“Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” In the process, 2010 offered several opportunities for the public to connect with CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The 26-year-old faced his share of tumult early on, as international opposition surfaced against his company’s privacy practices. Looming in the background was another burning question — did Zuckerberg steal the idea from original CFO Eduardo Saverin?

(See a graphic of the Facebook Playbook: who did what to whom and why.)

So, writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher did what any smart film fiend does — they brought the story to the Hollywood limelight. Despite the tangled web of unfinished business behind the website’s successes, customers flocked to theaters to see The Social Network. On an estimated $50 million budget, the film raked in nearly $46 million in its first two weekends of action.

(See Fincher and Sorkin in a TIME roundtable on the making of the movie.)

Like it or not, Zuckerberg has sunk his social-networking teeth into the lives of millions around the world. More than 10,000 readers have already liked him as their candidate for TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year. Head over to TIME.com to cast your vote, or head out to one of our 40 December meetups across several continents to share your opinions in person.

(See photos inside Facebook headquarters.)

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