What is BeReal and why are TikTok, Instagram trying to copy it?

A two-year-old French photo-sharing app is earning the highest form of flattery from the social media titans of Big Tech: fake.

BeReal, which prompts users to snap once per day and share a quick photo no matter where they are, tops the app charts with a social media experience that prioritizes seamless connections over image-conscious duration. gives. The app uses your phone’s front and rear cameras together, resulting in a post that overlays a candid selfie over an image of whatever is in front of you.

He is also a motivational imitator. This week, TikTok becomes the latest big platform to respond to the BeReal boom, announced A new feature called TikTok Now Which will daily prompt users to share instant photos or short videos using the phone’s front and rear cameras. The move comes after Instagram has confirmed that it is working on a similar feature, called IG Candidate ChallengesAnd a few weeks after Snapchat made its debut dual-camera mode,

The success of BeReal shows that there is an appetite for more authentic, intimate forms of expression among social media users, and it shows that David can still shake up a territory dominated by global Goliath. At the same time, the scramble to mimic the core features of an app by those bullets that have no way of making money yet underscores the uphill battle they face just to survive.

“The fear of incumbents is that this will become the next TikTok,” said Mark Schmulik, a Bernstein analyst who covers the internet platform. “So they’ve all scrambled to launch their own version” in hopes of overtaking a competitor before going mainstream.

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Buzzy new social apps are not uncommon; Many don’t last. But BeReal’s pace of ascent in recent months puts it in a select company.

Launched in January 2020 by French founder Alexis Barrett, a former GoPro employee, BeReal didn’t take off immediately, earning just 2 million downloads in its first two years, mostly among French users, according to analytics firm Apptopia. According to, which uses statistical models. To estimate the popularity of apps. This year, however, it has reached nearly 56 million downloads, with the United States becoming its top market. Its iOS app was downloaded an estimated 11 million times in August alone, making it the most downloaded nongaming app in the world for that month, according to Apptopia.

that “hockey-stick” development trajectory Adam Blacker, the vice president of Apptopia, said Snapchat in 2011 and Clubhouse in 2020 are the equivalent.

Instagram famous Snapchat’s Signature Stories Feature Copied After Snap refused to sell parent company Facebook, but Snapchat keeps innovating and growing, In contrast, Clubhouse, the social audio app that became a sensation during the pandemic lockdown, lost its speed Big rivals, including Twitter, roll in as coronavirus restrictions are eased similar features,

Like Snapchat before it, BeReal presents itself as a refreshing alternative to the larger social media platform with its addictive feed, polished content, and professional influencers.

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Users receive a notification on their phone once each day, at an unexpected time chosen by the app, informing them that it is “bireal time”. They then have just two minutes to snap a photo, which will show the view from both their phone’s front- and rear-facing cameras. Late posts and retakes are allowed but scoffed at; While the app doesn’t display popularity metrics such as friends or likes, it does show your friends how long your post was and how many times you re-take a shot.

The photos that result are aggressively mundane compared to a typical Instagram feed. Many people show unsuspecting users cooking, driving, working on your computer, Or just lying in bed looking at your phone. Critics have ridiculed the app”boring“It says the defenders bus point,

“He’s definitely caught lightning in a bottle with an idea,” Bernstein analyst Schmulik said of BeReal. Now comes the hard part: continuing to grow amid fierce competition from larger platforms, which can offer similar features to existing user bases that largely dwarf BeReal.

Schmulik said that most of BeReal’s features seem relatively easy to copy. So if its appeal mainly lies in its clever and fun product design, the app may struggle to fend off bigger rivals.

TikTok Now looks almost like a clone of BeReal, mimicking both the dual-camera mode and the idea of ​​prompting everyone to take a picture together every day. Instagram hasn’t launched Candid Challenges, but Screenshots viewed by a developer Suggest that it will also work like BeReal. Meanwhile, Snapchat embraced the dual-camera idea, but no daily signal,

On Thursday, the day Tiktok announced Tiktok Now, BeReal Posted the “eyes” emoji on your Twitter account. Both TikTok and Instagram declined to comment for this story.

While BeReal’s default view only shows posts from your friends, a “Discovery” tab lets you see recent public BeReals from users around the world. Unlike TikTok’s “For You” page, which Wanted personalization algorithm Fills your feed with videos that are most likely to engage you, BeReal spares no effort to bring out popular or relevant posts. To scroll through it is to be reassuring that people in Norway, Croatia, and the Canary Islands are living the same unmistakable lives as you.

BeReal declined to comment for this story. In a fact sheet to the media, the company says its philosophy is to “create a clear and fun place for people to share their lives with friends.” It added: “We want an alternative to addictive social networks that foster social comparison and portray life with the goal of amplifying influence.”

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TikTok, which is owned by deep-pocketed Chinese parent company ByteDance, parted ways by spending heavily on ads for its apps on rival platforms including Instagram and Snapchat. BeReal is Raised funds from major venture capital firmsBut so far it looks like it’s growing more by word of mouth, thanks in part to “Ambassador” program With a view to promote development in college campuses.

In a sign of growing interest in BeReal, a popular Twitter account formerly known as “Songs That Go Hard” was rebranded as “” on 8 September.Best BeRealsTweeting amusing or surprising BeReal posts from public accounts. Within four days, the account’s number of followers more than doubled, from 125,000 to 325,000, according to the account’s owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

On Friday, a fan asked singer Harry Styles to pick him up BeReal during their concert at Madison Square Garden. He complied, and videos and photos from the encounter went viral on other social platforms – Although not on BeReal, which has no mechanism to promote popular content.

There’s one aspect of BeReal that Big Tech can’t replicate: not being a part of Big Tech (at least not yet). If people are really using it as an antidote to the addiction to TikTok, the impersonality of Facebook, or the demonstrative pressure of Instagram, it may finally be staying in power. Maybe it’ll live long enough to find itself an incumbent, scrambling to copy the next hot app that comes along.

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