Photo illustration by William Joel | Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images

Newly released emails from April 2012 show Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives were frustrated by slow internal prototyping and weighed the benefits of quickly copying and iterating on smaller apps like Pinterest instead.

A chain of messages starts with Zuckerberg recounting a meeting with the founders of Chinese social networking app Renren. “In China there is this strong culture of cloning things quickly and building lots of different products,” he wrote. “Seeing all this and the pace that new mobile apps seem to be coming out from other companies makes me think we’re moving very slowly. ... I wonder what we could do to move a lot faster.”

The messages were released on Wednesday as part of a House Judiciary Committee...

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