Social & Influencers

Why is everyone talking about Lemon8?

The app has been described as Instagram meets Pinterest.
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Sorry, Clubhouse, BeReal, and Dispo: There’s a new social media app bubbling up.

Lemon8, a photo-sharing app owned by TikTok parent company ByteDance, was one of the top 10 most-downloaded apps on the App Store last week. It had five million monthly active users globally as of last year, per the New York Times, and is being promoted by ByteDance as US lawmakers debate a TikTok ban.

Though it debuted in Japan in 2020, it made its way to Americans’ phones this year: According to Insider, it is “starting to build out its creator partnerships team in New York as it looks to expand.”

On the App Store, Lemon8 is described as “a place for young creatives to share a diversity of content from fashion, makeup, food, and travel, to homewares, pets, and anything else you can imagine!” Many have described the app as a cross between Instagram and Pinterest.

“While TikTok continues pushing into current events, trends, and live streaming, Lemon8 heads in the opposite direction,” venture capitalist Turner Novak wrote in his newsletter last month. “Evergreen reviews, lifestyle content, text, and photos starts eating into the use cases of Reddit, Instagram, and Pinterest.”

ByteDance recently invited US creators to join Lemon8 through marketing companies it hired, according to the New York Times. According to Ad Age, the platform currently has “no ads and few official brand accounts,” though fake brand accounts have started popping up.

Lemon8’s splashy debut is reminiscent of other social apps that have blown up over the past few years, including Clubhouse and BeReal, though interest in both has waned.

Some people already seem to be skeptical of Lemon8’s staying power. Social media consultant Rachel Karten, who writes the newsletter Link in Bio, tweeted that she asked some of her subscribers for their thoughts on Lemon8 and whether brands should establish a presence on it. “Overall consensus is Lemon8 is owned by ByteDance so it likely won’t be the ‘new TikTok’ if TikTok gets banned. It’d probably be wrapped up in that drama too.”

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