As the threat of a TikTok ban lingers, another ByteDance-owned app is trending up

By 03/30/2023
As the threat of a TikTok ban lingers, another ByteDance-owned app is trending up

The threat of a potential TikTok ban in the United States has put the app’s parent company in a sticky situation. In response, ByteDance is heeding an age-old maxim: When life gives you lemons, make Lemon8.

That’s the name of a social media app that has surged up the U.S. App Store charts over the past week. Lemon8, like TikTok, is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance. As American consumers wonder how much longer they’ll have access to TikTok, Lemon8 is starting to look like an appealing alternative. According to TechCrunch, Lemon8 reached #9 on the App Store’s Top Apps chart six days after TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew appeared before the U.S. Senate.

Lemon8 is often described as a mix between Instagram and Pinterest. Creators who use the platform can post photo collages, which can be used to share experiences or teach skills. Content is displayed on a For You Page that resembles the TikTok hub of the same name. Several reports have suggested that Lemon8 was designed to compete with Xiaohongshu, a social shopping app that has earned widespread popularity in China.


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Though Lemon8 has been around since 2020, it is just now gaining attention in the U.S. Last month, Insider reported that ByteDance was recruiting creators to take its new app for a spin. In the wake of Lemon8’s American virality, some TikTok creators have urged their fans to check out the app.

@gabivictorr #greenscreen unlock a new obession #lemon8 #contentcreators #newapp #creatortips ♬ original sound – Gabrielle Victor

To capitalize on this surge of interest, ByteDance is looking to build a Lemon8 creator team to work out of New York. Job listings posted by ByteDance indicate that the corporation wants to hire operatives who will “educate creators on platform [sic] and establish growth.” Per Insider, Lemon8 is looking to expand its presence in verticals like food, beauty, health, and travel.

That push may prove moot if the U.S. government votes to ban all apps tied to ByteDance. The corporation’s ties to Chinese state media have made it a punching bag on Capitol Hill, but recent developments suggest that the effort to ban TikTok has encountered some roadblocks. An attempt to push through a Senate vote on the RESTRICT Act was blocked by Republicans like Rand Paul, who are concerned about the First Amendment implications of the bill. Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, progressives like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez have voiced support for TikTok.

Political gridlock is good for TikTok, but there are still many reasons for lawmakers to be concerned about the leader in short-form vertical video. For example, a recent report from Common Sense Media suggested that TikTok users with depressive symptoms are more likely to get addicted to the app.

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