BeReal is working on a chat feature, which will begin with a test among users in Ireland.
At launch, users will be able to message one on one with friends, send them a private BeReal (no time limit, just a front-back photo) and react with RealMoji (BeReal’s custom emojis).
BeReal users can only message each other if they’re already friends on the platform. The chat system will also launch with blocking and reporting features. While users can delete their own messages, that doesn’t mean that the message will disappear from their friends’ apps — but if two people in a chat delete the messages, then BeReal says it will be deleted entirely from their system within 30 days… and if you’re having such top secret conversations on BeReal, you might be better off using an encrypted messaging app anyway.
The company said in an email to TechCrunch that private messaging is one of the most commonly requested features from users. Sure, it’s easier to directly chat with a friend in the app if you want to talk to them about their BeReal without making a comment, which all of their other friends can see. But this is also a way for BeReal to keep users in the app longer, and open it more than just once per day when they make their post.
BeReal spiked in popularity last year, despite being founded in 2020. The app wooed Gen Z and millennial users with its less-than-polished approach to social media.
Each day at a random time, every user is simultaneously prompted with a notification that it is “time to BeReal.” That means that within two minutes, you must take a front-and-back camera photo (RIP Frontback) to share with your friends. While Instagram can sometimes feel like a highlight reel, BeReal has a lot more photos of people’s TVs or computer screens, because we are all too often watching Netflix or working. But that authenticity has its downsides, because the computer screen selfies get boring after a while.
Even as the app faced competition in the form of copycat features from TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat, the app didn’t iterate much until this spring. In April, BeReal launched an integration with Spotify, which shows what you’re listening to when you post your BeReal. Then, the app rolled out the Bonus BeReal feature, which lets users post more than one BeReal per day, so long as they post their first BeReal on time.
According to BeReal, the app has 20 million daily active users. Though the young company has a Series B round of $60 million to back it up, there are no ads or paid features in the app yet, so the potential for income is limited.