What is BeReal, the social network whose popularity is exploding?

What is BeReal, the social network whose popularity is exploding?
Upon receiving the daily notification, users have 2 minutes to launch the app and photograph their location.
BeReal Upon receiving the daily notification, users have 2 minutes to launch the app and photograph their location.

BeReal

Upon receiving the daily notification, users have 2 minutes to launch the app and photograph their location.

APPLICATION – A selfie and a photo of your environment at a different time each day: this is the principle of BeReal, a social network created by two French people, which promises an experience without filters, far from the varnish of Instagram.

Upon receiving the daily notification, users have 2 minutes to launch the app and photograph their location. Their friends can react by mimicking emojis like a thumbs up, a surprised pout or a hilarious face.

In fashion “Discovery”photos of users parade randomly: one shows a game of billiards in progress, another the checkout of a fast food restaurant, a third a video broadcast on a computer.

35 million installs

Launched in 2020, the platform has been a hit for a few months, in particular among Generation Zborn between the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2010s. It totals nearly 35 million installations, according to data provided by the specialized firm data.ai.

BeReal was even the most downloaded mobile application in the United States at the beginning of September (iOS and Google Play combined) and was in the top 3 in France and the United Kingdom.

Despite its popularity, the Parisian start-up locks down its communication and its leaders do not grant interviews to the media. In response to a request from AFP, BeReal sent a brief information sheet detailing the operation of the application.

A selfie and a photo of your environment at a different time each day: this is the principle of BeReal.
Be Real A selfie and a photo of your environment at a different time each day: this is the principle of BeReal.

Be Real

A selfie and a photo of your environment at a different time each day: this is the principle of BeReal.

On the LinkedIn profile of the co-founders, Alexis Barreyat and Kévin Perreau, we learn that they studied at computer coding school “42”created and financed by billionaire Xavier Niel, and that they are both extreme sports enthusiasts.

Alexis Barreyat, originally from Drôme, notably worked for the manufacturer of GoPro action cameras before creating BeReal, which currently employs around a hundred people.

In the summer of 2021, the start-up raised $30 million from several investors, including US venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz and Kima Ventures, Xavier Niel’s seed capital holding company. According to the specialized site Business Insidera new funding round in May saw BeReal raise an additional $85 million, valuing the company at $600 million.

Show her true face

According to Kima Ventures director Jean de la Rochebrochard, the idea for BeReal came to Alexis Barreyat while filming a mountain bike demonstration for GoPro.

“As he lived in the moment, he was surprised to see so many influencers bustling about staging their lives with countless photos and stories, trying dozens of filters and missing the show entirely”wrote Jean de la Rochebrochard on his blog. “It even made some of them and their audience unhappy. »

According to Carolina Milanesi of Creative Strategies, the attraction for BeReal comes precisely from a need for authenticity in response to the overly perfect images of a network like Instagram. “People are tired of perfectly smooth portraits that don’t reflect real life”describes the analyst.

“For Gen Zers, this seems like fertile ground as they want to show who they are, what their life is really like and how they are doing”she adds.

Real enthusiasm or flash in the pan?

It remains to be seen whether BeReal will be able to register in the long term or will be only a flash in the pan, as seems to think Jennifer Stromer-Galley, professor at the school of information sciences of the university of Syracuse (State from New York) : “There is no clear reason to stay there beyond the voyeurism of observing other people’s life experiences”says the academic.

The application also raises questions about the management of the privacy of its users. “Let’s say the rear camera shows a friend, your kids, where you live, or your desk or computer screen”imagine Jennifer Stromer-Galley, who wonders about the use that hackers or stalkers could make of this data.

For the time being, BeReal continues in any case to intrigue. Instagram has developed a prototype with similar functionality but told AFP that it is not currently in the testing phase.

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