What is Lemon8?
PYE has received multiple questions from parents about Lemon8. According to the App Store listing, “Lemon8 is a content sharing platform with a youthful community. Here is where you can discover beautiful, authentic, and diverse content. It is THE destination for sharing and exploring.”
While it was released back in March of 2020 (what a month!), it wasn’t available in the US or the UK until February of 2023. ByteDance, the same company that owns TikTok, also owns Lemon8. People have speculated that the quiet western launch was intended as a fail-safe for ByteDance in case TikTok was banned in the US. With the CEO of TikTok testifying before Congress just a month after Lemon8’s release to the US, the timing sure fits.
App Category: Lifestyle
Apple App Store Rating (not available for Android): 12+ Apple’s App Store
How does Lemon8 Work?
When signing up, Lemon8 will ask you to share your preferred pronouns, birth year, email or phone number, and select a few of your interests.
Using Lemon8 feels like a combination of navigating Instagram and Pinterest. It’s mainly focused around aesthetics, traveling, fashion, health, travel, and food. Users can post pictures and videos with a very similar feel to Instagram, and you can also add posts to your “collections” which function similarly to a Pinterest “board.”
Users can find and share posts and collections by searching and exploring on the platform. Using and searching hashtags are very relevant on this app, and can lead to finding inappropriate content.
Does Lemon8 have Privacy Risks?
Normally, we would say the privacy risks falls alongside that of other common social media platforms, but Lemon8 is a little different. With ByteDance being its parent company, we approach the topic of privacy with a little more skepticism.
Does Lemon8 have any Parental Controls?
When poking around the settings, there are practically zero controls. This app greatly lacks the safety settings that are slowly becoming a standard amongst most social media. While those standards often fall way too short, Lemon8 is all the way at the bottom. They might have the least controls of any social media app we’ve covered.
You can disallow Lemon8 from using your posts as promotional material, hide the posts you like, and limit your notifications. That’s it.
There is nothing about making your account private, limiting the ability to comment or follow others, no way to make your account undiscoverable, no way to post privately or make private collections. Whatever you post, anyone can see and there seems to be no way around it. Users can always see who you are following and who follows you.
In fact, here’s a screenshot of what happened when we asked the Help Center about making our account private:
Their customer support still hasn’t responded.
While there is no way to direct message others, you can still comment and reply to comments on posts, so there is a way for people to talk with each other. Users can also link their TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or other external links for anyone to click on. The links listed within accounts have always been a spot to watch for, Lemon8 offers 5 ways to leave their app and go somewhere else. Please be careful!
Thankfully, users can ban and report others. But otherwise, that’s really all there is.
Bottom Line: is Lemon8 safe for kids?
- Too much exposure, too little controls. With such a lack of privacy on this platform, on top of its connection to ByteDance, it’s simply not worth the potential risks.
- For now, use at your own risk. Right now, due to the lack of digital wellness features that are becoming customary in social media, this app does not support our goals of teens being prepared, balanced, and protected online.
2 amazing ways to keep tabs on an app like Lemon8:
- Stay current on the digital landscape by registering to receive our free, PYE Download newsletter.
- Stay current in bite-sized chunks be downloading our Protect App! (Apple here, Google here)
*There might be affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Enjoy!