Popular social media app gains traction with teenagers


Natalie Cullen

Introducing a new take on social media, the app BeReal attempts to highlight individuals and their unfiltered lives. BeReal is a social media app that has been on the rise recently with teens, in which it was released in 2020, and it gained popularity rapidly in early and mid-2022.

Bentlee Toland, Print Staff

BeReal is simple to use, you post once a day at the same time. The app notifies users at a random time throughout the day that it’s “time to Be Real.” A two-minute timer starts when the user opens the app, giving them a limited amount of time to take a picture of whatever they’re doing at that moment. With the front and back camera taking the picture at the same time making it look like a FaceTime. Users will be able to see if you posted late, and If you retook a photo before posting it on the app.

When a user downloads the BeReal app, they must add their phone number, name and age. They then create a username and password to use the app. At this point, they are asked to create their first BeReal post to start seeing their other friend’s photos too. ​​In order to add a friend on BeReal, you have to open your profile and tap on the ‘Add Friend’ button to send them a friend request. If the user is public and you see their post you like to become friends with the poster, tap their profile picture. This will take you to the person’s profile. Once you enter the poster’s profile, tap “Add” and the app will send a friend request to them.​​ 

TikTok recently added a brand new feature called “TikTok Now” that asks its users to use their phone’s front and rear cameras at a random time of the day, just like BeReal some say its copying and should not have been added while others like the new feature added to TikTok.

 In September 2022, is when TikTok launched the new feature and got backlash very fast from the users and BeReal itself committed on Twitter the eyes emoji replying to a post about TikTok Now. BeReal alerts its users via push notification, telling them that “it’s time to BeReal ‘’ with alert emojis. Both apps share a lot of similarities like TikTok Now’s notification, alerting users it’s “Time to Now ‘’ with lightning emojis. And on both apps your posts will stay up until the next random notification hits the next day. Also both apps do not notify users when you screenshot something on your feed but that is common in other social media apps like Instagram The feature is available for US users . 

To get TikTok Now you would go In the press images, you can see “Now” has landed space on the bottom navigation bar, next to the posting button. Tap the Now button (lightning icon) to see an Explore Feed of TikTok Nows – or, as TikTok called it, “a daily photo and video experience” – from the “people who matter the most.”  You will also receive a daily prompt to capture a 10-second video or a static photo to easily share what you’re up to. 

Some users think the privacy features for TikTok now are over the top compared to BeReals. For one, users must be 18 to share their TikTok Now posts on the Explore Feed. For users 13 to 15, only your friends, people you follow who follow you back – will be able to comment on your posts. Even for users 18 or older, the default setting will allow only friends to view your posts, although they can change their settings to share with the public.

Some parents are concerned about the BeReal app because there are no parental controls. There are minimal privacy controls, the only ones being private or public accounts. Users can also share their location and save the image to their device which may alarm some parents, but the age requirement said in BeReal’s Terms of Use is 13 and older. Some things about BeReal can be controversial, such as the fact that pictures are unmoderated. This means when you are scrolling through the Discovery feed, they may come across an item someone posted that features inappropriate content. 

One major issue is some people are photographed without their permission. This could turn into a major problem especially if it was a minor, but the same problem can happen on most media apps.

But in my opinion, BeReal is safer than most social media apps.

Users cannot contact others privately; any comments are public for all to see. Unlike most social media apps, photos cannot be edited and filters cannot be added. 

Users only have two minutes to submit their photo. It may help some teens move away from the pressures often associated with other social media services. You can only post once every 24 hours which could help teens with spending less time on their screens. Lastly, BeReal has no likes and no hashtags. Some say this is a negative but I think it is a positive because it takes away the competitive component of social media. 

BeReal is the first app to use RealMojis instead of commenting on someone’s post with an emoji. A RealMoji is when your facial expression becomes an emoji in itself. To make a RealMoji, tap the smiley face icon on the bottom-right corner of a BeReal post you want to leave a RealMoji on. Then, choose one of two options.

 The first option allows you to choose an emoji on the screen, then capture an image of yourself imitating that emoji to use as your RealMoji.  I believe BeReal deserves all the fame it’s receiving. It’s different from other social media platforms as the whole point is to show real life as it states in the name being-real. BeReal is a fun and simple app to use.