ByteDance again looks to TikTok to promote its other social app, Lemon8
TikTok appears to be working on an integration with Lemon8, another social app owned by TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance, according to new findings from product intelligence firm Watchful.ai. The apparent new partnership sees TikTok developing a feature that would allow users to sync their Lemon8 posts to TikTok, then add sounds and music to the posts using TikTok’s editor.
Watchful could not provide screenshots of the feature in question, but notes that its methodology uses a combination of computer vision, machine learning algorithms, and flow analysis of publicly available data to identify and emulate app changes. That allows Watchful to discover features before they launch publicly, as it has done many times before. Most recently, it uncovered TikTok features in development like the AI chatbot Tako, a dedicated Shop feed, video stickers and more.
TikTok did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the matter.
Lemon8, as you may recall, rapidly rose up the App Store charts earlier this year around the same time that U.S. lawmakers were discussing moving forward with a TikTok ban or forced sale. The app, a lifestyle social network, had originally launched in arch 2020 but was artificially inflated on TikTok this spring.
With suspicious timing, the app “went viral” on TikTok’s video platform after numerous influencers posted positive videos promoting Lemon8 using similar language describing it as a mix of Pinterest and Instagram. None of the videos we came across at the time indicated they were sponsored content or ads. This forced popularity, in turn, pushed Lemon8 into the Top 10 Overall apps in the U.S. App Store for several days in March 2023.
Ahead of this, Insider reported that ByteDance had been paying creators to post about Lemon8 on TikTok to seed its initial U.S. user base and content.
From the looks of things, it seemed that ByteDance’s hope was that Lemon8 could serve as something of a backup plan to gain U.S. users’ engagement and attention in the event of a full TikTok ban.
If the newly spotted cross-posting feature does, in fact, roll out more publicly, ByteDance would be able to leverage TikTok once again to further gain attention for Lemon8, driving new installs and adoption. However, it’s unclear at this time if or when the cross-pollination feature will launch, or whether it’s only something under consideration for now.
Currently, Lemon8 has 25 million estimated worldwide downloads, per market intelligence firm data.ai. Its top 5 markets are Thailand (36% of installs), Japan (24%), Indonesia (21%), Malaysia (7.2%), and the U.S. (7%).
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.