What Is BeReal? The New Social Media Craze

What Is BeReal? The New Social Media Craze

Facebook, Instagram, TokTok and … BeReal? Canstar looks at the latest social media app to join the party.

BeReal is having a moment. A year ago, it had a few thousand daily users. Today, it has about 10 million… And of the 40 million or so downloads it’s had, about 40 million of those have come this year alone.

So it’s fair to say BeReal is the ‘it’ app right now, and a massive hit, particularly among the young Gen Z audience. But what should you know about the latest social media app to the party? And is there any reason to be concerned about its usage?

What is BeReal?

BeReal is a new social media app that was launched as a counter-movement to the ‘hyper-staged’ and performative world of social media platforms. Whereas Instagram is all about appearance-altering filters and getting the perfect ‘instagrammable’ image, BeReal is about well, being real…

How Does it Work?

At a random point in the day, without warning, every single BeReal user gets a notification to post to BeReal. You are given a two-minute window to post, and every post is be visible for 24 hours before disappearing.

When posting, you have to take a photo with your back camera, of whatever you’re currently looking at. The app will then simultaneously snap you from the front camera, capturing you how you appear then and there.

There are no filters for you to use, and while you can retake the photo as many times as you wish within that two-minute window, a retake counter will show any viewers exactly how many retakes you took. The aim of this is to discourage users from retaking photos until they get the perfect snap.

BeReal rakes a photo from both the front and rear cameras simultaneously.

The point of the app is to encourage you and your friends to share a more authentic and candid look into your lives. Once a day, you have a feed that consists of real photos of your friends and what they are doing at an exact moment, between the hours of 7am-11pm. No staging and no filters.

So if you’ve ever wanted to know what every one of your friends is up to at 9:43pm on a Tuesday, then this is the app for you.

Is that all there is to it?

More or less. As mentioned above, BeReal is designed as a sort of ‘anti-social media’ social media app. The app has no follower counts, likes, hashtags or filters. And you can’t view anyone’s daily post until you post yourself.

However, there are a couple of features that do occupy more familiar social media territory.

The discovery page

Notably, while your posts are private and only shared with friends, you can opt to make them public. If so, they will be shared to the public feed, which you can scroll through to see the random and mundane posts of people you don’t know. This is much like the explore pages of other social media apps that feed you content from strangers.

Timed posts

If you miss the two-minute window to ‘BeReal’ all is not lost. You can actually post late. However, your friends will be notified that your post was late. So while delaying a post may get you a better snap you will have to live with the shame of your friends thinking you’re a phony!

RealMojis require you to take a selfie mimicking an emoji


While posts don’t have any like counts, you can react (with ‘RealMojis’) and comment on posts. RealMojis involve you taking a selfie mimicking an emoji.

Who is behind the app?

BeReal was invented by Alexis Barreyat and Kevin Perreau in France. And currently, they remain the ones running the app, with the help of a few extra individuals who have joined in executive roles.

Is my data safe?

If you use any social media app, you are surrendering personal data. However, at the moment, BeReal poses less risk than other social media apps.

There are no ownership concerns, such as those surrounding TikTok. And as BeReal currently contains no in-app advertising or sponsored content, it’s less likely to be doing a cash grab on your data and selling it on to third-party advertisers, as is common with most social media apps.

In fact, BeReal does not partner with companies or influencers. Well, there’s nothing to stop a popular influencer from using BeReal, but don’t expect any #ad posts. BeReal clearly states in its Terms of Use that you cannot use BeReal “for advertising or commercial purposes”.

However, in theory, there are risks. Your posts and data are in the hands of the BeReal team, and the app has access to your contact list and your geolocation.

There’s also the risk that things could change in the future. Currently, BeReal is only sourcing money from private backers. But if those backers want to see a return on their investment, BeReal is sold off, and/or it begins to accept a for-profit advertising model, then how your data is harvested and used could change.

→Related article: How to Keep Your Online Browsing Private and Avoid Trackers

Is it safe for kids?

All social media apps pose a risk for younger users. The fact that BeReal does away with advertisers, algorithms, influencers, filters, and many of the other potentially harmful aspects of social media may make it a safer space. However, many of the usual risks and concerns apply:

  • Posts are unmoderated and users can, in theory, post anything. However, users can report content that is inappropriate
  • There are no parental controls or child settings
  • The discovery page means children can view and share content with strangers
  • Users can react and comment to posts, opening themselves up to cyberbullying
  • While strangers cannot comment on your posts, they can react to them and can request to befriend you. If accepted, children could be talking with a stranger
  • The daily notification to post can lead to anxiety

Compare phone plans with Canstar

Whether you’re looking to jump on the BeReal craze, or to just keep feeding the TikTok algorithm, you’ll need bucket loads of data to keep up. Here at Canstar, we compare phone plan providers on a range of factors, to help you find the best plan for you. You can click here for a rundown of some of the best endless data plans on the market, or click one of the buttons below to compare providers and learn more.

Click this button for prepaid providers:

Compare prepaid mobile plan providers here!

Or this button for monthly plans:

Compare monthly plan providers here!

author andrew broadley

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an
experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.

Enjoy reading this article?

You can like us on Facebook and get social, or sign up to receive more news like this straight to your inbox.

By subscribing you agree to the Canstar Privacy Policy

Share this article