TikTok’s parent has a new app: What to know about Lemon8

Updated: Apr. 6, 2023 at 9:42 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -As the walls seem to be closing in on TikTok, it’s Chinese parent company has a new app that’s already getting some traction.

Lemon8 is a photo-based app similar to Instagram and Pinterest. The app features TikTok-like videos too and includes a “following” section and “for you” page.

Lemon8 was released in Asia in 2020 and only hit the U.S. market in February 2023.

Similar to TikTok and other social media sites, Lemon8 collects user data, such as IP address, browsing history, device identifiers and other information. Leading some to think that it’s likely to face the same scrutiny as TikTok, which has been dogged by claims the Chinese government could force its parent company ByteDance to hand over user data or push misinformation on the platform.

Already more than 30 states have acted to restrict TikTok in some way, many banning the app on government issued devices. The RESTRICT Act takes it a step further. It’s meant to give the government clear power to ban any app that could threaten Americans’ security. The bill’s sponsors say the ban would give the president the power to force TikTok to be sold to an American company or to put TikTok out of business. Some privacy groups question whether such a ban could have implications far beyond our cellphones.

TikTok maintains it keeps its user data safe.

“We’re obviously going to do our best with the Lemon8 app to comply with U.S. law and to make sure we do the right thing here,” said Andersen, who also serves as TikTok’s general counsel. “But I think we got a long way to go with that application — it’s pretty much a startup phase.”

Lemon8′s user base is relatively small. Analytics company Data.a.i. shows the app had 290,000 downloads in America as of April, 2, 2023 and most of which came at the end of March.

If it continues to grow it could be added to the Commerce Department’s “watch list.” For too long, our government has been playing a game of Whac-A-Mole when it comes to addressing the various foreign technology threats popping up all around us,” said Warner, D-Va. “The RESTRICT Act would establish a risk-based, intelligence-informed process to evaluate and mitigate the risks posed by tech from adversarial nations, whether that be TikTok, Lemon8, or the next viral technology product pushed by an authoritarian nation.”