TikTok may be facing a potential nationwide ban in the U.S. but it appears that its Chinese parent company ByteDance has a contingency plan as its Instagram rival photo app Lemon8 soared into the Top 10 in the App Store’s charts this week.
In the last month, ByteDance has been quietly rolling out its new social media app Lemon8, which is dubbed as a cross between Instagram and Pinterest, in the U.S. and UK.
TechCrunch reports that Lemon8 soared into the U.S. App Store’s Top Charts seemingly out of nowhere, becoming the number 10 overall app, across both apps and games.
On Tuesday, Lemon 8, which describes itself as a “lifestyle community,” ranked number nine on the App Store’s Top Apps chart, excluding games.
According to information provided by data.ai to TechCrunch, Lemon8 had never before ranked in the Top 200 Overall Charts in the U.S.
data.ai says that Lemon8’s meteoric rise from an unranked social media app to being among the top ten free apps in the U.S. — ahead of YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook — suggests a “significant” and “recent” user acquisition push on the app publisher’s part.
As Lemon 8 is so new and unknown in the charts, there is also no accurate data available on Lemon8’s U.S. downloads, or how those installs have changed in the last few days.
Although both Lemon8’s listing on the App Store and the app itself lists a Singapore-based company called Heliophilia Pte, multiple sources have reported that China’s ByteDance is actually the parent company behind the app.
It appears that ByteDance may be trying to keep a lower profile with Lemon8 — as U.S. lawmakers push forward with plans to ban its video-sharing app TikTok.
TikTok, which has 150 million users in the U.S., has been under mounting scrutiny for allegedly handing over American users’ data to the Chinese government.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration demanded that ByteDance sell its stake in the app or face a ban across the country.
Lemon 8: The App That is Paying Creators to Post
Lemon8 allows users to post carousel-like photos — just like Instagram. However, in a similar style to Pinterest, it emphasizes specific lifestyle elements broken into five categories: fashion, beauty, food, fitness, and travel.
Lemon8 encourages users to share where they bought things and help other users easily get them too. When posting a photo, there is a section that allows users to tag each product in the photo with a brand and a price.
@melbellles this is so cool.. definitely check it out #greenscreenvideo #greenscreen #lemon8 #fashiontiktok #beautytiktok ♬ original sound – melbellles | fashion + beauty
While the app’s feed is similar to TikTok in that it is divided into a “For You” page and a “Following” page, Lemon 8 is dedicated to photos — particularly images that look like influencer ads.
The app encourages users to share where they bought things featured in a photo and help other users easily get them too. When posting a photo on Lemon8, there is a section that allows users to tag each product in the photo with a brand and a price.
Last month, Business Insider reported that ByteDance was paying creators in the U.S. and the U.K. to post content on Lemon8. Those influencers were supposedly told to emphasize three to seven vertical pictures and a long, 100 to 300-word caption for each post.