Opinion: BeReal or BeFake?


Media by Parker Brandt

BeReal claims to be a non-toxic and authentic form of social media, but does it really just put pressure on teens to have a specific image online?

The latest social media craze has plagued our community with the promise of being more authentic and spontaneous. 

Laying claim to the devices of 21.6 million active users, BeReal uses a unique posting mechanism with the goal of preventing fabricated images and profiles. Claiming that “BeReal is life, Real life, and this life is without filters,” in the app’s description, it supposedly promotes an honest and unfiltered presence online. 

BeReal might hope to be less fake, but let’s get real— it’s not. 

The main gimmick of the app is that once a day, at the same time, every user with the app downloaded and a profile created will get a notification that it’s “Time to BeReal!” The user then has two minutes to take a picture with the app’s unique camera— it takes two simultaneous pictures: one from the front camera and a selfie from the back camera. Only after the user has posted can you see other friends’ posts.

While some of its features give the user the impression that it prevents the ability to manipulate one’s image online, those features can be easily worked around, despite the app’s claim that “BeReal won’t let you cheat.” 

The timer feature is supposed to curb the ability to only post on social media when you’re out with friends or in a cool place because the app gives you only a couple minutes to take the image and post. Although this seems foolproof, it is easily hackable, as the app lets you take a “late BeReal” and post with no issue. 

This feature allows people to wait to post until they are doing something fun or are out with other people. The only caveat is that it displays a small timestamp on that post indicating how late you took the image. 

This app, while claiming to encourage honest social media posts and online transparency, is just another platform for people to have a curated image and a calculated presence on the internet. It seems like a step in the right direction, but it is only a facade of honesty, sheltering yet another fleeting craze of daily posting in our ever changing world. 

We as the younger generation are constantly told to “get off our phones,” and that the real world can’t be experienced through a screen. This often rubs people the wrong way, but to a point, it’s true. 

No matter what new and different platform is launched or what trend takes hold, it’s still a toxic form of social media, one that frankly isn’t all that different from the rest. 

Turning off our phones and making real connections is one of the only ways to truly “BeReal.”