BeReal – The Photo-Sharing App That Wants You to Keep It Real

What if you only had 2 minutes a day to share a snapshot with your friends on social media, and you couldn’t use any kind of filter or editing tool on it?

If the above scenario sounds intriguing, you and your friends may want to give BeReal a try. BeReal is a new alternative photo-sharing application that wants its users to share a more authentic, filter-free picture of each other’s lives. Think of it as the opposite of Instagram, if you want. Instead of dozens of staged, over-edited photos of a fake glamorous existence, you get to share one unfiltered photo per day, in a 2-minute window, at a random time. Miss that window and you don’t get to share another photo until the next day. That’s supposed to keep things genuine and authentic, offering friends a window into their real day-to-day lives.

After you download BeReal, you’ll get to set up your profile, and you’ll start to receive daily notifications to post a photo within a 2-minute window. The notification arrives at a different time each day, to prevent users from planning their activities in advance. Once you get the notification, you have to take a photo with your back and front-facing cameras simultaneously, to offer friends a complete snapshot of what you were doing at that exact moment.

If you’re thinking about installing BeReal just to keep an eye on what your friends are actually up to, without sharing photos of yourself, we have some bad news. If you miss your 2-minute window for the day, not only will BeReal notify your friends about it, but it will prevent you from checking out other people’s posts as well. That’s supposed to boost engagement and discourage “lurking”.


Apart from keeping things real between friends, BeReal also prevents users from spending too much time on it. The notification for posting the daily photo arrives for everyone at the same time, so you can see what others post for the day and get on with your life.

Founded in 2019, BeReal has been growing att a rapid pace recently, with a March report showing that it is currently ranked fourth in mobile app downloads in the U.S., the U.K., and France, after Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. The number of monthly active users has also increased by 315% since the beginning of the year.


“I like BeReal because there’s no need to add acquaintances or friends of friends. I only add the people I am fully comfortable with sharing random, unfiltered moments with,” Isabel from Boston told Mashable. “Because it’s such a small community there’s always a ton of good banter on the daily posts.”

While BeReal definitely seems to have some advantages over its much bigger competitors, when it comes to private and personal data, it poses the same kind of concerns. For example, it shares your exact location when you post, unless you disable the feature from the app settings. Plus, experts are worried about what happens with the data that BeReal is collecting.


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