Instagram Is Prototyping a Feature Very Similar to BeReal
The hype surrounding the fledgling social media platform BeReal hasn’t escaped the attention of Instagram, it seems.
Instagram confirmed to TIME on Tuesday that it’s internally prototyping a new “Candid Challenges” feature that will prompt users to capture and share a photo of their surroundings during a different two-minute window each day. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s nearly identical to the concept behind BeReal, a social media app touted as “the anti-Instagram” for the way it encourages candid photos taken once a day.
First publicized by Alessandro Paluzzi, a mobile developer known for his ability to unearth apps’ unpublished features. Paluzzi tweeted outA screenshot of information regarding Candid Challenges, Aug. 22, 2009.
He said that the software, similar to BeReal’s, would be dependent on users. take a snapshot with their front and back cameras simultaneouslyTo create their daily posts.
TIME spoke with a representative of Meta, Instagram’s parent company. They said that the feature was not currently being tested outside the company. Meta didn’t say when, if ever, the feature would go live.
BeReal refused to comment on news about the prototype.
Continue reading: BeReal Won’t Save Us From Social Media—Yet
BeReal’s popularity has exploded in recent months. BeReal has been downloaded 86% more than usual between June and July. Sensor Tower digital analytics platform reported that 22.8 million people had downloaded the app globally.
BeReal was launched in late 2019. Users are only allowed to post once per day and at random times, if prompted by the application. The photos should be candid and unposted.
BeReal’s push for unedited, unfiltered, and less-frequent posting has struck a chord with Gen Zers and Millennials in particular. As of June, 55% of the app’s users were in the 16-24 age group and 43% were in the 25-44 age group, according to data platform data.ai.
Monday’s news comes on the heels of upheaval at Meta. The company is redesigning its Facebook and Instagram apps to compete with TikTok, encouraging more short, shareable videos—a campaign that’s faced major user backlash. Now, some BeReal supporters are speaking out against Instagram’s reported attempt to copy the budding app.
“Why should Instagram just get to mimic every other platform’s features while the rest of us try to keep up with every single update?” wrote Twitter user Jes CervantesTomorrow is Tuesday.
In July, Niklas Myhr, a clinical associate professor at Chapman University known online as “The Social Media Professor,” told TIME that it was likely another app would try to copy BeReal.
If other social media apps offered comparable features, Myhr said, “I worry about BeReal not having a real lock-in effect on users because a lot of people might feel they can do this on other platforms.”
Here are more must-read stories from TIME