BeReal? More like BeCareful.

| Sep 5, 2022

As you may have seen on social media today, during the announcement of Liz Truss being named as the new UK Prime Minister, the social media app ‘BeReal’ sent a notification to it’s users.

What is BeReal?

BeReal is a social media app with the mission statement of trying to show what life is like outside of the pre-planned and crafted social media posts that plague other platforms such as Instagram. The premise is that at any point during the day, users will be prompted to load the app and show both their front and back cameras for up to two minutes and share it with their friends.

A screenshot of the notification sent by the BeReal App.

Credit: BeReal

What’s the big deal?

At first glance, this seems like a good premise - ensuring that the moments shared are truly real and not fabricated like many other social media posts can be; a harmful trend that can cause mental health and body positivity issues for consumers.

But while it is a good premise on paper, there is an issue here.

Because you are prompted to take a screenshot from both cameras, you could be inadvertently be building a profile of your day-to-day schedule, or even revealing your location at any given time. Not only that, but it gives way to potentially leaking work emails or other personal documents without you realising.

And just to top it off, you are also subject to the experience of FOMO (the ‘feeling of missing out’); as part of the app’s functionality, you cannot view your feed unless you have posted your ‘BeReal’ post of the day. If you don’t post, you don’t get to see everyone else’s posts. This encourages you to participate even if it may not be an optimal time to do so - the app even promotes this by sending a notification to your friends when you posted after the 2-minute window.

We’re not done yet…

After all that, it’s also possible for anybody to screenshot the app/feed (which doesn’t appear to have a warning or prevent it like some other social media apps), so that personal or confidential information in those posts can easily be saved by somebody else.

It also shares your location on each post by default (with a built-in map to get really specific) and as reported by some users, even “[the] exact location, like your coordinates”. So you could be building not only a profile of what you do, but where you do it.

So - remember that with every new social media platform that comes along there’s a whole bunch of things you should concern yourself about with them when it comes to your privacy and safety online.