While TikTok is in check in the United States, ByteDance seems to invest more and more in the American market. The company that owns the social video network plans to launch a new application, Lemon8.
In the process, some even call for a ban on the app in the US, or its sale, to appease US politicians.
CapCut, ByteDance’s video editing tool that was successful in the United States , is one of the most downloaded in the country and has not yet sparked controversy.
Contrary to TikTok, at the same time that the company’s CEO was questioned, marketing companies hired by ByteDance sent messages to content creators.
ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, invites you to become a launch creator on its new platform, Lemon8, before it officially launches in the US!
Lemon8: global social media?
Notes and materials linked to Lemon8 were collected and reviewed by The New York Times. The contents declared the new network’s ambition to become a leading global media service and spoke of the success of TikTok, its “sister company”.
The materials also mention that, despite not having officially launched, the platform already appears in app stores and uses “the same recommendation engine that helps TikTok succeed”.
The disclosure of the network reached content creators in the United States and shows ByteDance’s effort to become one of the largest application developers, including in the United States.
The news site Insider reported the arrival of social media in the country in February and the company plans a global marketing push to attract users in May, according to an email sent to the creators.
Now, the companies hired to approach these creators are trying to call them and create a database of content in the app.
According to the network’s presentation, shared with marketing agencies in January, Lemon8’s vision is “to build the most inspiring and informative platform to discover, share and bring ideas to life” and its “ideal creator portrait” is a woman aged 22 to 26, residing in New York or Los Angeles, who produces with a focus on fashion or beauty.
The recruiting is a reminder of how, despite Washington’s perception of TikTok and ByteDance, the company’s social networks are largely consumed by young people and content creators, who earn money producing there.
The fact that it belongs to ByteDance means that the creators will give it a chance. There’s this chance to become a really, really big part of the culture.
Krishna Subramanian, founder of influencer marketing company Captiv8, one of ByteDance’s hires to recruit creators
Crystal Scruggs, a 29-year-old lifestyle content creator from Houston, was one of those contacted.
- The message arrived via Obviously, the marketing company working with ByteDance, a day after TikTok CEO Show Zi Chew testified before the US Congress;
- The email invites Scruggs to apply to become a fashion release creator on Lemon8;
- If she was chosen, she would receive some sort of bonus to publish on the app;
- She would have to create ten posts to be released in April, with topics such as reviews and shopping recommendations, or fashion tutorials;
- Each publication should include three to ten images, a caption of at least 150 words and would be approved by Lemon8;
- She says she was surprised by the tone of the email, which is different from the ones she normally receives for partnerships; da Obviously was impersonal and Scruggs wasn’t sure it was real;
- The content creator was not interested in the opportunity; she claims the email appeared to be something that was sent to multiple people.
Hundreds of US creators have already signed up, and social media’s goal is to populate the platform with content before launch.
According to an anonymous person interviewed by The New York Times, after Lemon8 selects creators, they will be guided on what topics they should produce content on and what the videos should look like based on what might result in popular content.
What do we know about Lemon8
- The app arrived in US app stores in February, but it has existed in Japan since April 2020;
- In Japan, Great Britain, Singapore and Indonesia, the social network already has more than five million monthly active users;
- Subramanian, founder of Captiv8, described Lemon8 as a combination of Pinterest and Instagram branded posts;
- She added that the app has a greater focus on images and text than TikTok;
- The social network will have two columns of content, so that the user does not miss anything;
- In May, after the “content accumulation” phase, the app will focus on gaining users and assisting creators and gaining followers;
- In September, Lemon8 will turn its attention to commercialization opportunities; this includes monetizing creators’ content to earn money from brands and agencies;
- Contracted creators will be featured on the app’s “Discover” page or among Lemon8’s “Rising Stars”;
- It is not yet known how, but the creators of Lemon8 will be able to have their content marketed on TikTok.
What happened to TikTok can happen to Lemon8?
US lawmakers and regulators may have similar concerns about Lemon8 and TikTok. Washington officials said the video editing app is a national security risk and, by collecting similar data, the new social network could experience similar situations.
It’s a social media platform like Instagram, it’s all about collecting information about users, and it has the same ownership structure, being a daughter of ByteDance, so I think the same issues will arise .
Lindsay Gorman, director of technology and geopolitics at the German Marshall Fund and former technology adviser to the Biden administration
The app may not be controversial at its debut, but over time, it may raise suspicions. Gorman adds that “they [social media] are all about content, and eventually that will always lead to political and news content.”
ByteDance spokeswoman Jennifer Banks did not respond to questions about Lemon8 and whether there are anticipated regulatory issues.
With information from The New York Times
Image: T. Schneider/Shuttestock