Zuckerberg might win Nobel Peace Prize, speculators say 

click to enlarge The web is abuzz with rumors that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg might be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Getty Images file photo) - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • Getty Images file photo
  • The web is abuzz with rumors that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg might be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Getty Images file photo)

Buzz about the somewhat far-fetched rumor that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg could be up for the Nobel Peace Prize has hit the Internet with a resounding "What?!"

Many media outlets are blogging the speculation based on several recent comments by Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.

"For me and the committee, it is quite obvious if you look at the world today and see what is happening out there," Jagland said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday. "What are the major forces pushing the world in the right direction?"

Based on that quote, social media seems to be the top contender for the Peace Prize, as sites such as Facebook and Twitter played a critical role in helping to organize anti-government protests and spread information during the Arab Spring uprisings. From Syria to Egypt and beyond, social media allowed democracy activists to connect.

The Associated Press asked Jaland whether the Arab Spring would be the source of the honoree, and he said, "That is one, but there are others, too."

However, several breaths later, Jagland seemed to have dispelled the Zuckerberg theory by saying that the Peace Prize would go to "not necessarily a big name, but a big mission — something important for the world."

Zuckerberg, who was TIME Magazine's Person of the Year in 2010, downplays the role that Facebook has played in the Middle East, according to The Los Angeles Times.

"It would be extremely arrogant for any specific technology company to claim any meaningful role," he said at the e-G8 summit in Paris earlier this year. "The thing that was both necessary and sufficient was a population of people who felt very strongly that change needed to happen."

Surprisingly humble for the smart guy, and perhaps even a bit noble (gasp!).

At 27, Zuckerberg would be the youngest person ever to receive a Nobel Peace Prize.

"The most positive development will get the prize," Jagland told the AP. "So I'm a little bit surprised that it has not been already seen by many commentators and experts and all this because for me it's obvious."

Sounds like Friday's announcement just got a little more interesting.

juliachan@sfexaminer.com

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