advertisement
advertisement

BeReal is the hottest social media app right now—so of course TikTok is copying it

On Thursday, TikTok announced a new TikTok Now feature that essentially clones BeReal’s fast-growing social media platform.

BeReal is the hottest social media app right now—so of course TikTok is copying it
[Source Images: BeReal]

The social media app BeReal is having a moment.

advertisement
advertisement

A photo-sharing app, it sends a daily prompt (at a different time each day) to users to quickly take and share a real-time image—and is the #1 download in the social networking category of the Apple App Store. And it’s the seventh most popular in Google Play.

That success, though, is capturing the attention of other social giants, who are quickly rushing to create their own versions of BeReal to avoid losing users.

TikTok, which, itself, has been imitated several times by competitors (including Instagram and YouTube),  is the latest to clone the concept, announcing TikTok Now on Thursday.

advertisement
advertisement

“TikTok Now invites you and your friends to capture what you’re doing in the moment using your device’s front and back camera,” the company said in a statement. “You’ll receive a daily prompt to capture a 10-second video or a static photo to easily share what you’re up to.”

In the U.S., the feature will be included in the TikTok app, but other regions may have to download a separate app to join the fun. As with BeReal, those videos are shared with the community the user selects.

TikTok is hardly the first to swipe BeReal’s idea. Last month, word leaked out that Meta was working on Candid Challenges for Instagram, which follows the daily-prompt-and-immediate-turnaround formula. A spokesperson confirmed the feature to Fast Company, saying, “This feature is an internal prototype, and not testing externally.”

advertisement

It’s certainly a validation of BeReal’s central concept, though the company already knew it had a hit on its hands. BeReal has been downloaded more than 20 million times since it debuted. The French startup was founded by former GoPro employee Alexis Barreyat in 2020, and is especially popular among college-age users.

Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but in the corporate world, it can also be a hurdle—sometimes an insurmountable one. So, will the move by TikTok and a possible one by Meta put an end to BeReal’s growth trajectory?

BeReal raised a Series B round of $85 million in May, quadrupling its valuation to more than $600 million, according to Business Insider. That’s not Meta or TikTok numbers, but it’s not insignificant.

advertisement

The social media landscape is littered with the corpses of companies that were labeled the next big thing, however. Remember Vine? Meerkat? Yik Yak?

Just a year ago, Clubhouse was the envy of social media users, as people clamored for an invitation. But once Meta and Twitter began offering their own alternatives, its star begin to fade. 

BeReal isn’t currently generating revenue, and there are no BeReal influencers. (Yet.) It envisions itself as a return to social media’s roots, with friends interacting with each other in an authentic way.

advertisement

BeReal has a loyal base of users, but given how quickly large tech companies adopt (or outright copy) popular innovations, it can be increasingly difficult for growing companies to gain—and keep—a toehold on the market.

advertisement
advertisement

About the author

Chris Morris is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience. Learn more at chrismorrisjournalist.com.

More

Call for Most Innovative Companies entries! Apply now.

500+ winners will be featured on fastcompany.com. Final deadline: 9/23.