Weeks after attacking short video-sharing app TikTok saying it censored political protest, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been spotted on the Chinese application, a news report said. Mr Zuckerberg is reportedly on the app via a "secret account"; his not yet verified handle is "@finkd" - the same as the Facebook co-founder's Twitter handle, BuzzFeed News reported.
The account has around 4,055 followers but there is zero activity - there are no posts or likes yet. The account follows 61 celebrities like Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez, but mostly TikTok superstars like Loren Gray and Jacob Sartorius. The account is also linked to Mark Zuckerberg's verified Instagram account.
Facebook competes directly with TikTok, especially among younger audiences. The app enables users to create and share short singing and dancing videos that are set to well-known songs, with numerous special effect filters.
Mr Zuckerberg, in a recently leaked recording of him speaking with company employees, noted that TikTok was the first successful Chinese Internet product worldwide. "It's starting to do well in the US, especially with young folks." He recently also said that in India, TikTok has gone ahead of photo-sharing app Instagram, also owned by Facebook.
In 2016, BuzzFeed News reported that Mark Zuckerberg had invited Musical.ly co-founder Alex Zhu to Facebook's headquarters in California but the talks did not materialise. Next year, Musical.ly was bought by Chinese tech giant ByteDance for around $800 million and merged with its existing short-form video app Douyin to form TikTok which has over 800 million users globally, including a whopping 200 million in India.
Last month, Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook and WhatsApp were used by protesters and activists everywhere because of its encryption and privacy protection. He had then criticized the Chinese app saying "on TikTok, the Chinese app growing quickly around the world, mentions of these same protests are censored, even here in the US".
To take on TikTok's growing popularity, Facebook-owned Instagram has launched a new video-music remix feature called "Reels". It will let users make 15-second video clips set to music and share them as Stories.
TikTok even plans to invest $1 billion in India despite the calls to ban the app.