What is BeReal? How to use the chart-topping app

An iPhone user opening the BeReal social media app. (WIVB Photo/Allison Staebell & Patrick Ryan)

An iPhone user opening the BeReal social media app. (WIVB Photo/Allison Staebell & Patrick Ryan)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — In a social media landscape filled with photoshopped influencers and perfectly curated lives, some people just want something real.

If you’re a member of Generation Z, or a parent of a Gen Zer, chances are you’ve 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 launched back in 2020 but didn’t make a big splash for another two years. The idea is to pull back the curtain on re-touched and filtered social media photos that can create a false reality.

How does BeReal work?

Users 13 years old and up download the app, create a profile and wait.

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A BeReal post. (WIVB photo)

Once a day, at a random time, the app will send a notification to its users to snap a picture of what they’re doing at that exact moment. The picture is taken simultaneously using the front and rear-facing cameras of the user’s smartphone within two minutes of the notification and overlays the two photos.

Users can see their BeReal friend’s posts and react to them with custom “RealMojis.” It’s all in an effort for users to take a look at their friends’ authentic day-to-day lives. Users can make their accounts public or private, tag their locations and look back at a private calendar of their posts.

BeReal says the app is “A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.”

How are Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat responding?

Three of tech’s social giants have seemingly taken notice of the app’s success and are developing their own features that emulate BeReal.

“The fear of the incumbents is that this becomes the next TikTok,” Mark Shmulik, an internet analyst for Bernstein, told The Washington Post. “So they’ve all scrambled to launch their own version.” 

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, confirmed it’s working on an “internal prototype” called “Candid Challenges” for Instagram, tech news website Engadget reported.

TikTok, which has seen huge success among younger users, is also trying to get in on 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 a picture.

Snapchat is getting in on the action with “Dual Camera,” a new feature allowing users to take simultaneous images with their phone’s front and rear cameras. Differing from the others, there is no challenge aspect.

BeReal is currently sitting at number three in the Apple app store, beating out every other social media application. Only time will tell if BeReal is a flash in the pan or become a heavyweight in cyberspace.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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