- Apr 2, 2009
In a stunning result, the winner of the third annual TIME 100 poll and new owner of the title World's Most Influential Person is moot. The 21-year-old college student and founder of the online community 4chan.org, whose real name is Christopher Poole, received 16,794,368 votes and an average influence rating of 90 (out of a possible 100) to handily beat the likes of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Oprah Winfrey. To put the magnitude of the upset in perspective, it's worth noting that everyone moot beat out actually has a job.
Since moot launched 4chan.org in 2003, the site has given birth to Internet memes as diverse as Lolcats and Rickrolling. 4chan averages 13 million page views a day and 5.6 million visitors a month; by some estimates it is the second largest bulletin board in the world. (See the TIME 100 finalists.)
For proof of moot's influence on the Web, one need look no further than the TIME 100 poll results. While Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao got a larger vote total (20,391,818), the runner-up for the title of World's Most Influential Person, Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim, received a mere 47 on the influence scale. Moot denies knowing about any concerted plan by his followers to influence the poll, though TIME.com's technical team did detect and extinguish several attempts to hack the vote. (See the full results here.)
Undoubtedly, many people will question moot's worthiness of the title World's Most Influential Person. TIME.com managing editor Josh Tyrangiel says moot is no less deserving than previous title holders like Nintendo video-game designer Shigeru Miyamoto (2007) and Korean pop star Rain (2006). "I would remind anyone who doubts the results that this is an Internet poll," he says. "Doubting the results is kind of the point."