BeReal, the anti-filter and anti-star social network

Unlike TikTok and Instagram, an app wants to encourage users to spend as little time as possible online. And he’s… French.





By Leonce Sappin

A screenshot of the BeReal application.

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VSCreated in 2020, the app tries to steal the show from social networks like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. Invented by two former students of Ecole 42, Alexis Barreyat and Kévin Perreau, BeReal differentiates itself from the weaknesses of its competitors to promote itself. Its mode of operation is really very simple. Users receive notifications on their phones at any time of the day. They then have two minutes to post a photo that will be taken simultaneously by their phone’s front and rear cameras.

Therefore, BeReal offers a few seconds of social interaction that allows the user to share their daily life without being permanently glued to their phone. So, unlike Instagram, where its members interact several times a day, more than 33% of users spend less than ten minutes a day, according to a study conducted by Sortlist, a Paris-based media and social network survey company. The idea is to post your picture and come back in the evening to see your friends’ day.

In search of truth

Every effort is made to improve the authenticity of publications by not allowing the user to modify their image. The app even goes so far as to clearly display the number of BeReal attempts made before publishing. Unlike other networks like Instagram, which often reflect the reality of a dream, BeReal wants to stay true to reality. The idea is to only be friends with people we feel close enough to, that there’s no taboo or shame in posting photos of our day. So BeReal stands out by going against traditional networks, offering a more intimate version, where the principle is to be yourself.

READ ALSO“Social media reveals the power of the crowd” However, like other social networks, the app also raises questions about security. It does not sell user data, but keeps it anyway. According to the team at Avast, a Czech cybersecurity company, members’ photos can be used specifically for the app’s advertising campaigns, and according to the general terms of use, they are kept for thirty years.

BeReal’s shooting mode involves taking 360-degree photos. Since users tend to post quickly without taking the time to fully verify the details that may be visible, it is possible to post a photo that shows personal information such as computer screens, our location, and our workplace.

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Maybe that’s why only 9% of BeReal users post their first photo. It is also possible to publish a photo after a two-minute period set by the application: this includes a late. According to a study by Sortlist, 53.80% of users wait to post something interesting. This is explained by everyone’s claim to a full and pleasant life, “no one wants to show that their day is boring”, he believes. Romain Rissoane, digital communications specialist and founder of Lyon-based Optédif. These precautions do not prevent 65% of users from considering BeReal as the main social network of the future, given that even if they can be produced or staged, publications on BeReal remain more authentic and natural than on other social networks.

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There are no stars

The craze is so great that several stars create accounts, but quickly run into limitations imposed by the app. American rapper Wiz Khalifafor example, asks BeReal on Twitter to add a feature that allows you to accept all your friend requests at once. The rapper justifies this request by the fact that he does not have time to accept tens of thousands of requests by himself. This didn’t convince the software team, who responded: “Just try using BeReal with your friends and you’ll see…”

The social network has chosen its side. By refusing to care about stars and not providing a “verified” account like on Twitter or Instagram, BeReal is the first social network to put all its users on an equal footing.

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