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Lemon8 growth in the US could also get the attention of US regulators, especially due to its relationship with ByteDance.
Chinese tech giant and TikTok developer ByteDance is pushing another social media app, Lemon8, into the US market as TikTok faces a possible ban. The popular short video app is under pressure in the US due to concerns over the handling of users’ data. Already, more than 24 states in the country have banned TikTok on government-issued devices. US lawmakers have referred to laws that allow the Chinese government to secretly demand data from Chinese companies and citizens for intelligence-gathering operations. Last month, Congress questioned TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on the app’s ability to operate independently of influences on its parent company.
Hence, they are worried that ByteDance may give out sensitive user data to the Chinese government. Amid the intense pressure of a possible ban of TikTok in the US, ByteDance has devised a business strategy by pushing Lemon8.
Notably, Lemon8 is a combination of Instagram and Pinterest and was first rolled out in Japan in 2020. In March, the tech company invited US creators onto the new platform ahead of its official launch in the country. According to the message sent to creators, ByteDance asked that they become “launching creators” on Lemon8.
ByteDance Is Pushing Lemon8 as a Potential Alternative to TikTok
A senior fellow for emerging tech at the German Marshall Fund, Lindsay Gorman, said it appears the technology company is introducing Lemon8 as a potential alternative to TikTok.
“You could see this as the competitive move of a company that’s trying to expand into different consumer markets and segments with more image-based and longer-form written content as opposed to only short-form videos.
As TikTok is about to bid farewell to the US market, the possible alternative app has gained momentum and increased adoption. Analytics firm data.ai shows that Lemon8 jumped 693 positions to become the second most downloaded lifestyle app in the US in the last 30 days. At its current position, the ByteDance app pushed Zillow Real Estate & Rentals down and stands next to Pinterest, which tops the chart. Also, Apptopia revealed that the new social media app had garnered 17 million downloads globally since its launch.
A senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Glenn Gerstell, explained that some of the algorithms Lemon8 uses are similar to or the same as TikTok’s. In his speech, this process will make both apps popular as they feed users what they want to see.
Lemon8 growth in the US could also get the attention of US regulators, especially due to its relationship with ByteDance. The analysts stated that developing an app to replace TikTok is not the solution to the challenges ByteDance is facing in the US. However, Gorman and Gerstell agreed that TikTok content creators could fall back on Lemon8 if the US eventually bans the short video-sharing app stateside.