Taking a picture and uploading it to social networks without filters seemed like a very unlikely idea. But a former GoPro employee, Alexis Parreyat, together with Kevin Perreau, challenged this belief and created a new app that is gaining popularity among Gen Z: However, how safe is this app and could it really land on Instagram?
BeReal works as follows: the app sends a notification at a completely random time that reads “BeReal time” – the user cannot choose when to publish – and they have two minutes to take the photo. This will be captured by the front and rear camera and cannot be edited. If the user decides to repeat the photo, their followers will know.
Is it safe to use BeReal?
Like any social network, BeReal has security risks. Jeff Williams, global director of security at Avast, mentioned that “casual users of the service, without such a detailed review, could easily give away more information than they intend to share.”
Some of the main risks pointed out by Williams are:
- The app has the right to use users’ photos for up to 30 years: This means that the app can use all your photos for this period of time for advertising campaigns, promotional material, videos, compilations or anything else.
- Reveal information that people do not want to show: In BeReal it is easy to share information that identifies users (such as location), personal information (such as the interior of a room) or even private information (such as a blackboard at work), which also could be exposed in other apps. Time pressure, lack of editing and filtering, and the hidden “delete” option make users more likely to share things they wouldn’t otherwise.
- Lack of content moderation. BeReal seems to avoid any responsibility for the contents published in the application by calling itself a “hosting company”. This means that they only provide a platform for others to use. According to Williams, hate speech, child sexual abuse materials and other inappropriate content could easily be spread without any moderation.
- Geolocation is not automatically disabled. While applications like Instagram now have geolocation disabled by default, this social network does the opposite. When posting a photo, Internet users are asked to activate or deactivate geolocation, also if they want to share it with the entire BeReal community or just with their circle of friends.
- The application allows third-party cookies. Like Facebook, Instagram and other social networks, BeReal uses third-party cookies. This means that people’s activity is tracked by advertisers in order to show personalized ads.
Given this, it is recommended to read and understand the privacy policies of the app; be careful when sharing photos that do not contain sensitive information and disable geolocation.
BeReal vs Instagram
This is the new favorite app, especially among generation Z, because it defies the “search for perfection” that Instagram imposes. Journalist Jason Koebler called BeReal the “anti-Instagram” app and “makes everyone look extremely boring.”
BeReal is more limited than Instagram in terms of tools and features. For starters, on this social network you can’t choose when to post. Rather, the app will tell you through a notification and, in addition, you can only make one publication per day.
On the other hand, in BeReal there are no emblematic stories and neither the option of videos or reels. Basically, you can only post a photo that you took when the app told you to. And, most importantly, you can’t edit the photos, add filters, or upload them from your camera roll.
Although some users celebrate that this social network is, as its name indicates, much more “real” because it does not allow filters, retouching or documenting only a “glamorous” life, Koebler shares that it is not so real either because many users may be doing interesting things during their day that they were not necessarily able to document at the time the notification was sent.
“A lot of people are doing cool activities at least at some point in the day, especially when they’re not looking at their phones. Instagram may not be real, but at least I can decide if I want to capture and share something interesting I’m doing, like surfing or riding a bike,” Koebler wrote.