ByteDance pushes Lemon8 app as TikTok faces US ban

Anne Freer | April 26, 2023

App Business

ByteDance, a major technology company based in China, is promoting a new social media application called Lemon8 in the United States. This move comes as the company’s flagship app, TikTok, is facing the possibility of being banned in the US. However, analysts believe that introducing a new app as a replacement for TikTok may not be the most effective solution for ByteDance’s business strategy. 

What’s Lemon8?

In March, ByteDance extended an invitation to creators to join its upcoming social media platform, Lemon8, which is intended to follow in the footsteps of its successful sister app, TikTok. 

Lemon8 has been likened to a hybrid of Instagram and Pinterest, and was originally launched in Japan in early 2020 with a focus on health, wellness, and beauty. 

Since then, the app has gained significant traction in the US, rising in popularity to become the country’s second most downloaded lifestyle app over the past 30 days, overtaking real estate platform Zillow and trailing only behind Pinterest. With a total of 17 million global downloads since its inception, Lemon8 has become a noteworthy player in the world of social media.

Lindsay Gorman, a senior fellow for emerging tech at the German Marshall Fund, found the timing of the launch of Lemon8 peculiar as it appears to position itself to become a potential alternative to TikTok.

Lemon8 is said to be using similar algorithms that are either identical to or share similarities with those utilised in TikTok’s recommendation engine, which plays a vital role in the popularity of the app.

Crunch time for ByteDance

The growing popularity of Lemon8 coincides with ongoing deliberations by US lawmakers on whether ByteDance should divest its stake in the popular short video app, which has recently faced significant scrutiny. 

In March of this year, TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, appeared before Congress to address concerns about the app’s potential ties to Chinese interests, but this questioning did not quell lawmakers’ anxieties. 

Source: Lemon8

According to experts, ByteDance’s aggressive promotion of Lemon8 may be viewed as a strategic move aimed at expanding its foothold in diverse consumer markets and segments, offering image-based and long-form written content as an alternative to its traditional short-form videos.

A marketing incentive to move creators from TikTok to Lemon8 could be deliberate in case of a TikTok ban in the US. But that’s not to say, Lemon8 won’t face scrutiny from lawmakers too. 

Key takeaways

  • ByteDance extended an invitation to creators to join its upcoming social media platform Lemon8
  • The platform may be ntended to follow in the footsteps of its successful sister app TikTok
  • The app gained significant traction in the US where TikTok may be banned

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