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What is Lemon8? TikTok’s sister app explained

All the talk of new social media apps has largely revolved around X (formerly Twitter) alternatives for some time now, but another option from TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is drawing attention. Here’s the lowdown on Lemon8.

It feels like there’s at least one new social media application cropping up per month, with Threads, BlueSky, Mastodon and more taking centre stage of late. But few seem to stick.

One of the newer successful social media apps is TikTok and the company behind it is trying its hand at something a little different with Lemon8. If you’re wondering what it is and what it can do, this is our explainer on Lemon8.

What is Lemon8?

Lemon is a social media app with a focus on sharing photos and videos. The app has a focus on attaching user-generated content to specific categories and products within these categories, in a similar fashion to Pinterest or the use of hashtags on the likes of Instagram, TikTok and more. Like TikTok, it is owned by ByteDance.

With its product focus, the Lemon8 app places an emphasis on empowering its audience to become creators too, with easy access to adding product information – such as prices, links and more.

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Lemon8 was first released in 2020 but gained attention in the UK and USA in 2023 when it became available in the West. You can download Lemon8 on iOS and Android.

Unlike popular apps like TikTok and Instagram, there is less of a focus on infinite vertical scrolling with one post taking up your whole screen. Instead, you browse specific topics and products presented to you, with multiple product-focused posts shown at once. Popular topics on Lemon8 include Food, Wellness, Travel, Beauty and more.

Lemon8 is not a completely unique idea, with ByteDance launching it as a competitor to another app that is popular in the East, Xiaohongshu – which translates to Little Red Book. The latter gained huge popularity in China while Lemon8 acquired attention elsewhere in Asia.

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