BeReal is giving Instagram and TikTok a run for their money – but will it last?

(Image credit: BeReal)

BeReal has taken social media by storm, and platforms like TikTok and Instagram are racing to provide their users with an authentic experience. According to Apptopia, BeReal has been downloaded more than any other platform this quarter, including TikTok.

We've tried our BeReal ourselves, and looked at why it's been topping the charts. But will BeReal actually last, and will it truly change the social media landscape? Unlike traditional social media, BeReal doesn’t allow filters or retouching. More creatives and artists are moving away from Instagram due to its shift to TikTok-like features and prioritization of short-form video content. 

Not everyone is sold on BeReal however, as everything from cybersecurity concerns to doubts about its longevity threaten its popularity.

We asked the co-founder/CEO of Open Influence Eric Dahan for his take, as he's someone who has years of decades of experience integrating social media marketing campaigns for some of the world's biggest brands. Eric sheds light on why audiences are being driven away from unrealistic, overproduced content and why BeReal is having a moment in the spotlight. But are the concerns over BeReal valid, and is it actually here to stay as an image-sharing app?

Eric Dahan headshot
Eric Dahan

Open Influence Co-Founder/CEO Eric Dahan, Forbes 30 Under 30, has decades of experience in custom-integrated social media marketing for Fortune 500 advertisers, including award-winning influencer marketing campaigns for Universal, YouTube, Disney, L’Oréal, and Netflix. 

Why are we seeing so many downloads of BeReal?

You've got a lot of word of mouth and people promoting it. So I think part of that is inherent to when a social app is trending. But more specifically as to why it's trending. I think there is this big need for authenticity. 

I think Gen Z in particular really craves that. The core aspect and value of BeReal is its authenticity. It serves as a contrast to social media as a whole, where it's not about maximizing time spent or allowing the user to be really curious about the content. But you know, the time you're allotted before there are those sharing you're allowed to do is pretty minimal and in your post to be authentic. I think it's seen as a refreshing take on a gap in the market, in the social landscape.

What are the concerns with using BeReal?

There are some safety issues and concerns around privacy, but I don't know how real they are because people are already sharing almost everything on social channels anyway.

Are there any disadvantages to BeReal?

What kinda makes it great is also its disadvantage. You're forced to create content, and I would say that the disadvantage is you can't really control the content you're creating and sharing. You’re also limited in how much content you can share. 

Because you get a notification and have to post right away what you're doing, and where you are, the content is not always going to be you putting your best foot forward or creating what you want to create and share. That authenticity is also a limiting factor for people that really want to invest more time into the app.

You just spoke about authenticity. Are there any other apps or trends going around that are highlighting authenticity aside from real?

It's not a new app, but it's continued to gain in popularity. If you look at Instagram, it's really about curated content. It's really aspirational. It was an app started by millennials and represents our millennial values. And if you look at Tik Tok, it really sort of focuses on Gen Z. 

TikTok, and the format of video content format, forces you to not really post aspirational content or go through 100 pictures that you took and pick the best one. It's not an overly produced video like you could do on YouTube, right? Or an edited video. It really forces you to share what's real in the moment. A lot of the content is people talking from like the living room or their bedroom or just out and about on the street. So it's just a lot rawer in real life. 

Is BeReal here to stay or just a fad?

It's hard to tell because there are a lot of things that can happen from here. But my inclination is that it’s more likely to be a fad. It's got limited features, because you can only post that once a day. So I think that there's a risk of the content sort getting stale. Right now there's a big novelty factor that's driving it. But the question is, can that be sustained? I don't know. And then what's keeping the other platforms from having their clone of the BeReal take off.

Based off everything BeReal has done and will do, do you think it will impact the way we share images on social media in the future?

I think they found a format that's really interesting, this sort of front of camera and back of the camera. But I think there's clearly something there that people like about it. With the limited time pressure factor, that’s something that like BeReal uncovered as an opportunity. I think the question is, are they going to be the ones to really take advantage of that opportunity and see it all the way through? Or is that something where the rest of the social media landscape is going to stop that sort of lesson and incorporate it more and more into what they do?

Do you like BeReal? Have you downloaded it? Let us know! You should also check out Vero, yet another social image platform to gain popularity. Check out the best cameras for Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, too! 

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Lauren Scott
Freelance contributor/former Managing Editor

Lauren is a writer, reviewer, and photographer with ten years of experience in the camera industry. She's the former Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, and previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer magazine, Technique editor for PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, and Deputy Editor of our sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine. An experienced journalist and freelance photographer, Lauren also has bylines at Tech Radar,, Canon Europe, PCGamesN, T3, Stuff, and British Airways' in-flight magazine (among others). When she's not testing gear for DCW, she's probably in the kitchen testing yet another new curry recipe or walking in the Cotswolds with her Flat-coated Retriever.