Mark Zuckerberg.
Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg ninth on power list

IF Facebook didn't start the Arab Spring it certainly helped accelerate the uprisings.

Now the social network's role in toppling regimes has catapulted Mark Zuckerberg into the Forbes list of the 10 most powerful people on the planet.

The Facebook founder, 27, is the fastest riser in the business magazine's annual ranking of the 70 Most Powerful People In The World, soaring from number 40 to nine.

President Obama returns to the top of the list, displacing Chinese President Hu Jintao, who also falls behind Vladimir Putin, the resurgent Russian Prime Minister.

The phone-hacking scandal has taken the lustre off politicians and media moguls.

David Cameron falls three places to number 10, with Forbes citing his association with Andy Coulson, the No 10 communications director who quit after claims that he knew about hacking when editor of the News of the World.

Forbes wrote: "Once hailed as the second coming of Margaret Thatcher, the British PM now serves as the UK's punching bag. Cameron faces a splintering coalition and rebellion from within as Conservatives balk at his refusal to withdraw from or renegotiate Britainis relationship with the EU."

Rupert Murdoch, the News Corporation CEO, who closed down the News of the World and saw his bid to control all of BSkyB collapse, tumbles down the list from 13 to 24.

New entries in the list include Wen Jiabao, the Chinese Premier at 14, Opec president Rostam Ghasemi at 32, and Christine Lagarde, the new IMF managing director at 39.

Lagardeis predecessor Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned amid sexual assault charges, drops out of the list, along with Julian Assange and Oprah Winfrey. Tim Cook, the new Apple CEO, arrives at 58; his predecessor Steve Jobs, was at 17 before his death.

The Forbes panel, which included former US Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers, assessed four factors: how many people they have power over; the financial resources they control; if they have influence in more than one sphere; and how actively they wield their power to change the world.

Zuckerberg, worth $17.5 billion (around (pounds sterling)11bn), displaced statesmen and media moguls, because of the social influence wielded by Facebook, which now has 800 million users.

A dinner guest of President Obama, he is following the philanthropic example of Bill Gates, giving $100 million to improve US schools.

Gates himself rises to number five, with Forbes arguing that the Microsoft chairman is 'changing the world again through vaccines'.

The $28bn given away by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is 'saving millions of lives and helping to solve the global population problem', the magazine said.

Two criminals made it into the list: Joaquin Guzman Loeran, 55, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel in Northern Mexico, and Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, 57, head of a Mumbai crime syndicate.

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