“In Q1 2022 alone, BeReal saw 3.3 million downloads worldwide, up 390% from Q4 2021.”
BeReal is based on a random prompt, sent out to all users at a different time each day, which asks people to share what they’re doing, with a 2-minute time limit to provide an update.
The app’s being touted as the latest rejection of highly edited and sculpted social media personas, with the immediacy of the sharing process eliminating the capacity for significant customization or curation of your appearance.
And as you might expect, given the attention that BeReal is gaining, Instagram is now lurking around its flanks, and looking for ways to utilize its key elements, in order to negate the app’s growth, and boost its own performance.
Instagram recently launched a new ‘Dual’ camera mode, which enables users to capture content and their reaction at the same time, using their phone’s front and back cameras simultaneously.
Which many have noted looks very similar to BeReal’s UI:
And now, Instagram’s testing another feature which feels very BeReal-esque:
As you can see in this example, posted by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Instagram’s testing a new option that would enable you to add a QR code to your posts, which other users would then be able to scan, in order to see, on a map, where exactly you are any given time.
Add that to your Dual camera upload and you’re essentially replicating BeReal’s own map functionality, which enables users to show their friends exactly where they are when they post their BeReal update.
Which seems somewhat problematic, given that you’d theoretically be able to share this information publicly, based on current functionality as shown in this image.
Of course, we don’t have a lot to go on, but it could be an issue if youngsters are unwittingly posting their location at any given time, for anyone to see.
The idea, of course, is that you would only share your location info with your contacts, and there may be a way for IG to build this in as a restriction so that people don’t end up posting their home location to the world.
Because for all good intentions, kids are stupid, and they’re going to post their location for everyone to see if they can. Instagram will need to tread carefully in this respect – but again, it does seem like BeReal is fast becoming another muse for Instagram’s product team, following its usual m.o. of trying to cut down competitors by diluting the unique value proposition of their apps.
We don’t have any further info at this stage, and maybe Instagram won’t do anything with it. But it could become a thing, which could become an all new headache for privacy advocates everywhere.
(Note: BeReal only provides exact location info to your connections in the app, while if you post publicly, random users will only be able to see ‘your rough location’, which could provide a framework for IGs own location-sharing feature)