BeReal or BeFake?

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BeReal has taken the world by storm, but how real is the app?

BeReal is a Social Media app released in 2020 by French developers Alexis Barreyat and Kevin Perreau. The platform aims to offer a more realistic social media alternative. With the help of endorsements and company sponsorships, the app’s popularity skyrocketed among high school and college students, now yielding ten million active daily users around the world. 

How it works is simple: every day at a random time, BeReal will notify all users simultaneously that they have a two minute time frame to post a photo using both the front and back camera. Where platforms like Instagram allow the user time to set up the perfect photo, BeReal limits this time and shows a user’s surroundings, providing a glimpse of life behind the screen.

“BeReal gives a window into people’s real lives, not the ones they share on social media,” junior Addy Cowley said.

BeReal’s failure, however, lies in its realism. While Instagram allows the ability to post exciting and glamorous photos, many of these photos tend to be edited or staged to look good. The nature of BeReal prevents this issue at the expense of the glamor. This leads to bland, but realistic photos. 

BeReal gives a window into people’s real lives, not the ones they share on social media.”

— Junior Addy Cowley

While the app started as a breath of fresh air for the average teenager, it soon became tainted. Posts were criticized for being unexciting and basic. These complaints gave rise to people using the two minute time limit to stage the best photo they could. Whether it contains friends acting out a scene or the user rushing to a good setting, BeReal is slowly becoming a ghost of its former self. 

“I stopped using it once I realized the effects it could have on myself and people,” junior Zubair Mahedavi said. “By sharing only the best version of a photo we can, we are only doing the exact antithesis of the app’s purpose. Do you really need to have the app to be considered real?” 

As real-but-boring has morphed into exciting-but-staged, BeReal has become exactly what it was created to combat, demonstrating the social pitfalls of photo sharing on the internet. While the real vs. fake battle may never end as long as the internet stands, the issue can be mitigated by being confident about what you post and remembering that nobody is perfect.