BLOG POST BY: Rowan Byers
September 15, 2022

What is BeReal And Why Is Instagram & Snapchat Copying It?

BeReal – unless you live under a rock, there’s a high chance you’ve heard or seen that name floating between social media and the inner chambers of the web. For those who don’t know, BeReal is the latest social media platform to gather momentum and popularity, and looks like a real contender amongst the rest of the social giants. If you’d like to learn more about the new platform, what it is, how it works and why – not to name names – Instagram and Snapchat have taken the essence of this new app and put their own spin on it, then this is the blog for you!

What is BeReal?

BeReal is a social media platform taking the internet by storm. Available for download on Android and iOS, and founded by Alexis Barreyat in 2019, the app encourages users to share in the moment experiences. It is the newest app to start trending amongst social media users. Subsequently, the app is growing quickly in terms of interest and app downloads. The app allows users to capture a photo using their front and rear camera, depicting an authentic, in-the-moment experience without the requirement of filters, likes and social pressures fluent throughout Instagram and TikTok.

What Is Bereal

While its popularity continues to flourish, there remains a lot of unanswered questions about the candid photo-sharing app. In this article we’ll be looking into whether or not the app is safe, the concerns around location and personal information at risk of exposure, and how the app works. The new social platform has already become the target for platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, which have both implemented new dual-camera creative options within their interface.

How Does BeReal Work?

How To Post On BeReal

Users will receive a notification at random times once a day that will prompt them with the message “Time to Be Real”. Users are then given a two-minute window for the user to post a picture of what they are currently doing. The app’s unique selling point is that the content on the platform is unfiltered, authentic and captured in the moment, enabling a unique insight into a user’s life.

If users are unable to post within the two-minute window, they are considered late and will not be able to view other users’ content until after they have uploaded their photos. After posting, users can access BeReal’s Discover section, which contains content from other app users.

Why is BeReal Different From Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat?

Users can retake their BeReal photos, however, the app will show the number of times a user retakes an image, which is an extension of the authentic premise that the app thrives on. BeReal also reveals the number of times a user has tried to capture their BeReal moment.

BeReal does not have a ‘like’ option on the app. Instead, users can react to other posts by using their RealMoji, or an emoji featuring their selfie mimicking an emoji reaction. The app has no filters or edit buttons and does not allow videos to be posted. Follower count is also not displayed on the app and neither are ads. This is a stark contrast to the likes of Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat whose users are encouraged to use new filters and spend time engaging with ads whilst using the platforms.

How To Delete A BeReal

  1. In the BeReal app, select the post you want to delete and tap the three dots at the right of the location and time. 
  1. In the pop-up window that shows your location, tap Delete my BeReal.

Is BeReal Safe?

Since BeReal has stripped back engagement opportunities on the platform, leaving users unable to like, follow or message – the platform can be considered safe, at least when in comparison to other social platforms. 

BeReal strays away from the harmful elements that are usually frequent on social media. While it is safe for the most part, there are some concerns to keep in mind.

BeReal operates using a two-minute time limit for users to take their photographs, which to some may trigger anxiety. BeReal sends a notification to a user’s friends telling them that you are “late” if nothing is captured within that time frame. This negative reinforcement could pressure users to prioritize BeReal punctuality over real-world assignments such as school or work.

Something else to keep tabs on is the location-sharing habits that users run into. The app promotes candid photos, which are designed to capture people in the moment, what follows is usually people revealing their locations without even realizing it. Since there are no privacy features, parental controls or blocking abilities, it poses a safety risk for the user.

Is Bereal Safe?

Platforms Have Already Started To Copy BeReal

Instagram Launches ‘Dual’ Camera Mode

BeReal is a relatively new app, achieving over 10 million total downloads to date. Despite its infancy, Instagram has appeared to take inspiration from BeReal elements and has since launched its own dual camera mode. Instagram users can now capture content and a reaction shot at the same time, almost identically to BeReal’s functionality. 

Adapting new features that are heavily inspired by another platform’s success is not new to Instagram, there is an ongoing saga with TikTok and the controversy over whether Instagram is trying to be like the short-form video platform.

It doesn’t end there. Instagram is testing a new feature which was first discovered by app researcher, Alessandro Paluzzi. The new test enables users to add a QR code to posts, which other users can scan to locate the original poster at any given time.

It appears Instagram is testing new features to enhance ways to connect with friends and family through more personalized updates. This reflects the UX of BeReal, but given the nature of Instagram – known for the overly polished lifestyles – we could see that asking users to be more real on the app could be a hard ask. The idea of sharing locations could be an unwanted feature too, considering how there was some pushback when Snapchat introduced a similar feature of sharing locations with friends and connections.

Snapchat Launches New ‘Dual’ Camera Option

Snap’s new dual camera instalment is pretty much exactly like Instagram’s new Dual/Candid options. Snapchat is looking to push the functionality a little further though, beyond situational selfies, and more towards participatory, creative trends.

This is something that aligns more closely with the likes of TikTok. In all actuality, Snapchat is copying BeReals’s features whilst trying to put a more on-brand spin on its variation, as opposed to just blatantly replicating the same functionality in its app.

With these new additions, users will have the choice of several Dual output formats, including vertical, horizontal, picture in picture, and cut out. Taking all the new creative enhancements into consideration, regular users could also discover more interesting options for UGC, with brands now able to invite participation in many fresh ways, which could help to spark new trends in the app.

Snapchat Launches New ‘Dual’ Camera Option

Is BeReal Facing The Same Issues As TikTok?

Unprecedented growth over a short period of time is the common denominator between TikTok and BeReal. What else do they have in common, you ask? Well, as of recently the new photo-sharing app has fallen victim to having its most successful functionalities packaged and repurposed for use across Instagram and Snapchat.

TikTok has experienced this first hand, with Instagram copying the short-form video aspect by creating Reels, and YouTube adopting the same format and distributing it in the form of YouTube Shorts.

Instagram has come under fire recently from its own user base, predominantly for trying to copy TikTok. This speaks to the wider problem across social media, in that platforms are so quick to steal elements from each other that they seem to forget why people signed up in the first place.

This is why BeReal has become so successful in such a short amount of time! Its promise of real and authentic content is enough evidence to show that people are growing tired of this constant charade; the incessant regurgitation of the same features platform on platform is forcing people to step back and think about what they really want when spending time on social media.

And that’s all for this week, but don’t forget to follow us on LinkedInInstagramTikTok and Twitter for real-time announcements of all our new blog content!

Don’t forget to catch up with our latest vlog where we dive into the metaverse!

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Written by: Rowan Byers

Insights Executive at The Goat Agency