REVIEW: Social app attempts to facilitate the sharing of “real” everyday moments. Users are encouraged to share content at certain times during the day.
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Bereal – some quick tips
- With this app, users are encouraged to share photos taken with the mobile camera at certain times during the day
- You can share photos visible only to friends or all users of the platform
- Others can comment and leave video reactions in response to users’ posts
- For each photo you share, you can turn on/off the location display (city name and country where the photo was taken)
- It is possible to report users, posts, and comments
Our review of Bereal
What if social media posts were not so staged?
In an attempt to remove bragging photos, decorations, and formality – the app BeReal tries to be the polar opposite. The developers set a goal for users to share as authentic everyday moments as possible.
To achieve this spontaneity, you are encouraged to share photos taken then and there at certain times of the day. When you least expect it, you get a notification on your mobile, then two minutes to take a photo that becomes visible to friends or all users of the platform.
With other social media, you usually have more time to choose the settings, take pictures again and possibly edit those digitally, or even have makeup before the photo is taken. With BeReal, you do not have that opportunity, and the picture should preferably be taken whether you are at the store or out on the bike.
Admittedly, there is a ‘but’ here, because you can also publish photos after the scheduled time has expired. Then the photos will be marked as “published late.”
The app is a new twist on social media. It encourages spontaneity and provides an experience of the present as all the friends are notified to share photos at the same time. There are probably some differences in time zones if you have friends in several countries.
When the notification appears, you take a picture of both yourself and what is in front of your mobile at the same time. The app uses both the rear and front cameras.
The app can present a challenge if the reminder to take pictures comes in when the children are in the classroom, have gone to sleep, are sitting at the dinner table, or doing something else that should not be disturbed.
As with other apps, one can have friends lists. In the app, it is possible to switch between two windows. In one, you only see content from friends, and in the other, content that users from all over the world have published.
It’s a bit similar to TikTok’s distinction between “follows” and “for you.”
It is possible to search for other users and send friend requests to them. In addition, on your own profile page, you can see a calendar showing an overview of the last two weeks. Here are all the pictures you have taken as “memories.” In this way, the app also becomes a kind of diary.
In contrast to some other social media, there are no advertisements or news sites that post content in the app. Nor are there any kind of videos, games, or any other type of content. The app has been simplified and only offers photo sharing and comment fields – for now.
In this way, BeReal is perhaps a tidier alternative to other social media. However, as with all platforms on the internet, inappropriate images, comments, and friend requests from strangers may appear that children and young people should preferably have nothing to do with.
Suitability for children
Bereal has received an age recommendation of 12+ years in the App Store (iOS) and “Parental Guidance” in Google Play (Android).
The developers have written: “BeReal is only open to users over the age of 13. If you are under the age of 13, you are not allowed to create an account and use the app. In addition, if you are between the ages of 13 and 16, depending on your country of residence, we may need parental consent.”
Norwegian law allows parents to give consent for their children under the age of 13 to use apps that collect personal data, such as BeReal. However, the apps, in turn, can also set an absolute lower age limit that parents cannot give consent. BeReal has set 13 years as the absolute age limit.
In the registration process, one must also enter one’s mobile number to create an account.
Some settings can be used to provide more privacy inside the BeReal app.
For each photo you publish, you can choose whether it will only be shared with friends or with everyone on the platform. The former offers the most privacy. In addition, you can choose whether the location from which the photo was taken should be visible to others or hidden. Then others will be able to see the city name and country. It is conceivable that this information should be hidden, possibly only visible in the photo shared with friends.
In addition, it is possible to report comments, users, and other users’ posts. Inside settings, it is also possible to disable “Memories.” In practice, it means that the app will not save the photos taken in the previous days. This hardly affects the data collection by the developers, however.
One can also create one’s own bio/account page. You can enter your name and place of residence, as well as your profile picture. Here it can be a good idea to talk to children about not sharing personal or sensitive information that may become visible to strangers. The same applies to whatever may be visible in the photos they share.
Tested on iOS
(Translated from Norwegian by Ratan Samadder)