BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – In a social media landscape filled with Photoshop influencers and perfectly curated lives, some people just want something real.
If you’re a Gen Z member or a Gen Z parent, you’ve probably heard of the French service topping the App Store charts – BeReal. But what is it? And are the social media giants like Meta, Snapchat, and TikTok taking notice?
BeReal was launched back in 2020, but it didn’t make waves for another two years. The idea is to pull back the curtain on retouched and filtered social media photos that can create a false reality.
How does BeReal work?
Users 13+ download the app, create a profile and wait.
Once a day, at a random time, the app sends a notification to its users to take a picture of what they are doing at that precise moment. The image is captured simultaneously with the front and rear cameras of the user’s smartphone within two minutes of notification and overlays the two photos.
Users can see their BeReal friends’ posts and respond to them with custom “RealMojis”. It’s all an effort for users to get a glimpse of their friends’ authentic everyday lives. Users can make their accounts public or private, tag their locations, and look back on a private calendar of their posts.
According to BeReal, the app is “a new and unique way to find out who your friends really are in their day-to-day lives.”
How are Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat reacting?
Three of the tech industry’s social giants seem to have noticed the app’s success and are developing their own features that mimic BeReal.
“Incumbents fear this will be the next TikTok,” Mark Shmulik, internet analyst at Bernstein, told The Washington Post. “So they all tried to put out their own version.”
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, confirmed it was working on an “internal prototype” called “Candid Challenges” for Instagram, tech news website Engadget reported.
TikTok, which has had great success with younger users, is also attempting to get into the Real game. They’ve launched a feature called “TikTok Now,” which is a similar concept but adds the option to upload a video instead of just an image.
Snapchat gets into the action with “Dual Camera,” a new feature that allows users to take pictures with their phone’s front and back cameras at the same time. Unlike the others, there is no challenge aspect.
BeReal currently sits at number three in the Apple App Store, beating every other social media application. Only time will tell if BeReal is a flash in the pan or becomes a cyberspace heavyweight.