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A guide for using newly viral social media app BeReal

Photo-sharing social media apps can be tricky, especially when they pose a risk to your safety. Here are things to consider when using apps like BeReal

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Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, take a selfie.

Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, take a selfie as they attend a rally.

Luca Bruno, Associated Press

If you’re someone who spends time on the internet, you may have come across the new social media app BeReal, where users take quick snapshots of an “authentic moment” during the day to share with their followers.

What is BeReal?

BeReal is a photo-sharing app created by French app designer Alexis Barreyat.

  • Unlike most social media apps, BeReal does not have filters or a retouching option.
  • On top of that, users have two minutes to post their photo after they receive a notification from BeReal.

  • The app snaps what the front and back camera is viewing at the same time.
  • Retakes or photos taken past the two-minute mark will post with a disclaimer, as I wrote for Deseret News.

Although BeReal is an easy-to-use social media app, there are some areas of concern.

Is BeReal safe?

Intended for users 13 years old and up, the app is a contrast to the baggage of likes and follows that other apps like Instagram and Facebook depend on. The BeReal app doesn’t have profiles, followers, likes or messaging.

Because it strays away from some harmful elements of social networking platforms, this photo-sharing app is safer to use, but there are some risks and concerns to consider.

  • One anxiety-provoking feature is the two-minute time limit to take the photo, or else BeReal sends a notification to all your friends telling them you’re “late.” This negative reinforcement can make users prioritize the app during the day between work or school.
  • This app also promotes taking “candid” photos of yourself, which means users may constantly reveal their location, hobbies and an abundance of personal details. Since there are no privacy features, parental controls or blocking abilities, it poses a safety risk for the user.

  • Geolocation is turned on by default, which means if you post your BeReal on the public feed, your location may be compromised.

Tips on using BeReal safely

Safer Schools, an organization that advocates for safety online, posted a list of tips for parents and guardians. Some of these tips include avoiding posting anything too personal and understanding image ownership rights.

What you need to know about privacy settings

BeReal’s privacy policy states that processing users’ personal data is done in accordance with French law, under the Data Protection Act, as well as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.