TikTok’s Chinese language proprietor ByteDance paying influencers to push its different app Lemon8 as ban looms

TikTok’s Chinese language proprietor ByteDance paying influencers to push its different app Lemon8 as ban looms

TikTok’s mum or dad firm ByteDance is paying influencers to push its different social media platform Lemon8 — because the Senate considers banning the video-sharing big.

The Chinese language big faces both being compelled to divest itself of TikTok or have the app banned fully if a invoice handed by the Home this month can be handed by the Senate.

Now it’s paying TikTok influencers to push Lemon8, an Instagram-clone which options “inspirational” posts about meals, magnificence, wellness, and journey, The Publish has discovered.

ByteDance’s Lemon8 is described as just like Pinterest. Customers can submit inspirational images or search for journey, meals, make-up, and vogue inspiration — however TikTokers at the moment are being paid to advertise to customers.

Sources conversant in the laws handed by the Home mentioned the transfer could possibly be an try by ByteDance to get spherical a future ban on TikTok by having a heavily-trafficked different owned by the Chinese language firm up and working.

One influencer who spoke on the situation of anonymity advised The Publish that shortly after the Home handed the invoice aiming to ban the favored video platform, she was provided $200 to add a video that promotes Lemon8 on TikTok.

Finally, she mentioned it wasn’t sufficient cash for her to advertise one thing she doesn’t really use. 

ByteDance didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Influencer Braonain1, who has 362,700 followers on TikTok, acknowledged to The Publish she is working with ByteDance to construct a following on Lemon8 the place she has simply 66 followers.

That is the second the Home handed a TikTok ban overwhelmingly. It’s now as much as the Senate whether or not it strikes on the laws. However The Publish has discovered TikTok’s mum or dad firm ByteDance could also be transferring to maintain an app in US use. REUTERS

Final week she posted a video saying the Instagram-like platform was a godsend when she moved to London two years in the past at 20, writing, “I had no concept what there was to do right here.”

“I went on Lemon8 to seek out issues to do in London and created a bucket listing… discovered a group of different people doing the identical factor as me and I discovered so many suggestions and methods alongside the way in which,” she posted of her expertise. “Observe me on Lemon8.”

“Braonain1” or Brenna says she relied on Lemon8 to get acclimated to London when she moved to England two years in the past. Whereas she has amassed over 300,000 followers on TikTok she has simply 66 followers on Lemon8.
Brenna used Lemon8 to satisfy folks in London and doc her travels there. braonain1/TikTok

Within the final week alone, almost a dozen different TikTok influencers have posted movies selling Lemon8 that embrace a hyperlink to obtain the app. It’s unclear if ByteDance paid them for his or her posts.

One creator, who makes use of the deal with “its Alysssa Stevenss,” and has 174,700 followers on TikTok posted, “I discovered an app for the girlies… for those who’re a girlie preserve watching.”  

“Lemon8 is the vacation spot for sharing and exploring… there’s something for everybody on Lemon8,” she added.

Rayleen Vega who has 207,300 followers on TikTok and only one follower on Lemon8 posted, “My obsession has been this new app Lemon8… I freaking adore it.”

Likewise Kolby Shae with 755,600 TikTok followers and eight Lemon8 followers mentions, “I at all times use my Lemon8 app to assist me type [my hair].”

One influencer with 5.5 million followers, whose deal with is @SignaMae, casually talked about she makes use of Lemon8 in a TikTok tutorial the place she tries black eyeshadow. Sig/Tiktok
TikTok influencer whose deal with is @itsAlysssaStevenss posted a glowing video about Lemon8 and mentioned it “is the vacation spot for sharing and exploring.” itsalyssastevenss/tiktok

Not one of the creators responded to requests for remark.

The invoice — Defending People from International Adversary Managed Purposes — is crafted to power a divestiture of TikTok and names the app for instance of a menace to American safety.

It immediately names ByteDance as a foreign-adversary managed firm and says any “successor utility” to TikTok in addition to “every other utility or service developed or supplied by ByteDance” would should be divested.

Nevertheless, some coverage consultants advised The Publish there are loopholes within the invoice that ByteDance may use to attempt to keep away from a ban.

“The legislation continues to be open to interpretation at this level,” one supply who helped craft the legislation within the Home advised The Publish. “The invoice was drafted to go after TikTok… past that there could possibly be exceptions.”

Among the many loopholes are a requirement that apps have greater than 1 million common customers earlier than they are often acted towards. Lemon8 seems to be nicely below that determine.

A TikTok creator who makes use of the deal with @RayleenVega mentioned she “freaking loves” Lemon8.
TikToker @KolbyShae mentioned she “at all times” makes use of Lemon8 to type her hair. kolbyshae/TikTok

Analysis from SimilarWeb in July final 12 months discovered it had simply 6,360 lively each day customers.

Tom Grant, vice chairman of analysis for visitors analyst Apptopia mentioned the app has been rising in latest, together with 19% in March thus far, with utilization accelerating within the US however decelerating elsewhere — a sign that ByteDance’s marketing campaign could possibly be working.

Final June ByteDance appointed TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew as head of Lemon8 in an effort to seek out extra synergy between the 2 apps.

However on the Apple and Google app shops, Lemon8 says its developer is Heliophilia, a non-public firm in Singapore that shares headquarters with the ByteDance Singapore workplace, which may additionally assist Lemon8 body itself as not being owned by a “overseas adversary.”

TikTok is explicitly named within the invoice for instance of an app that must be banned.

“Something TikTok can do from inside these boundaries is a victory. If they’ll develop Lemon8 utilizing this disaster, it’s a win,” one legal professional with information of the state of affairs advised The Publish.

“It’s like they’re creating the framing for his or her argument that that is solely about TikTok, as a result of the identical firm is telling their customers that the opposite app is completely high quality to proceed to make use of.”

Jacob Helberg, senior coverage advisor to software program firm Palantir, advised The Publish that whereas there are “completely different prongs and standards” to what will get banned, the ban in its present type “would apply to an app like Lemon8.”

However till the invoice is signed into legislation, he mentioned, “ByteDance continues to be making an attempt to kill the invoice.”

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