TikTok’s sister app, Lemon8, isn’t helping its American reputation

TikTok has a sister and she’s growing in popularity. Her name? Lemon8. Her purpose? A photo sharing app. 

Lemon8, which launched worldwide in March 2020, according to Sensor Tower, is focused on photos, with a layout similar to Pinterest. Users can post about topics such as food, fashion, beauty and travel. There are currently no ads and few official brand accounts. Downloads of the app have surged in the U.S. recently and the app is being pitched to creators. (It was not immediately clear exactly how many users Lemon8 has, though the New York Times reported that Lemon8 reached five million monthly active users worldwide last year.)

Sitting under the ByteDance umbrella, Lemon8 has drawn more attention to the Chinese company in the wake of TikTok scandals and conversations with the US government. 

Due to its newness, one user has been able to claim the Lemon8 handles for Juul, Chick-fil-A, Mark Zuckerberg and POTUS, in an effort to monetize these handles when brands and popular figures look to join the platform.

Meta, McDonald’s, Red Bull, Chili’s, P.F. Chang’s, Duolingo, Domino’s, Kate Spade New York, 7-Eleven, ESPN, Craigslist, Home Depot, and even the U.S. Congress, have also seen handles associated with their names snapped up by Lemon8 users as interest builds around the app in the wake of a potential U.S. ban of TikTok.

This is because the app does not appear to have a verification system as of present. 

Lemon8’s rise comes as TikTok is still facing political scrutiny while lawmakers deliberate on banning the app in the U.S. due to ByteDance’s Chinese roots and concerns over the security of users’ data. TikTok says it has 150 million U.S. users.

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