By NBF News

FACEBOOK has reportedly raised funds from Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor in a deal valuing the social networking site at $50 billion (£32.3 billion).

The New York Times said that Goldman was investing $450 million in Facebook, and Digital Sky Technologies another $50 million.

The paper, citing unnamed sources, said the terms of the deal implied a value for Facebook of just over $50 billion.

Goldman's involvement could also raise speculation that Facebook might float on the stock market.

A Facebook spokeswoman told the BBC that the company was not commenting on the New York Times story. Goldman also declined to comment.

If valued at $50 billion, Facebook is worth more than eBay and Time Warner.

The fresh investment is expected to be used to fund develop of new products and possibly make acquisitions, the New York Times said.

It may also enable Facebook employees and early investors to cash in some of their stakes.

The paper said the Securities and Exchange Commission was looking at the growth in the private market for trading in companies like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Regulators are concerned that, with this private market booming, companies are able to circumvent public disclosure requirements.

Further scrutiny by the SEC could help push Facebook towards a public listing, although the company's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has denied there are plans for a flotation.

Meanwhile, the founder of facebook, Zuckerberg has been named Time magazine's person of the year.

According to Time's, The 26-year-old billionaire was the subject of a 2010 film, The Social Network, charting Facebook's rise.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange earlier won a Time readers' poll on 2010's most influential person.

The yearly feature has been a fixture since the 1920s, with the winner appearing on the front cover of Time.

The conservative Tea Party political movement was second choice of the magazine's editors and correspondents, followed by     Mr. Assange, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the 33 trapped Chilean miners.

In the readers' poll, more than 382,000 favoured naming Mr Assange as Person of the Year, ahead of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and pop star Lady Gaga.

Zuckerberg only made tenth place in the poll, garnering less than 20,000 votes.

Time managing editor Richard Stengel said Mr Zuckerberg's social networking service was 'transforming the way we live our lives every day'.

Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook while a student at Harvard University in 2004. It now has more than 500 million users worldwide and employs more than 1,700 people.

In a statement, Zuckerberg said the Time award was 'a real honour and recognition of how our little team is building something that hundreds of millions of people want to use to make the world more open and connected. I'm happy to be a part of that.'

Zuckerberg, estimated to be worth $6.9 billion (£4.4 billion), is one of the richest people in the U.S., and earlier this month he became one of the latest billionaires to pledge to give away the majority of his wealth.

He is one of 17 new people to support a group, founded by Bill Gates and his wife along with Warren Buffett, which encourages America's wealthiest to publicly promise to donate to charity.