Over the years, Facebook has used Instagram to compete with competitors such as Snapchat and TikTok by closing their brands. Now, a newer, faster-growing service has caught the company’s attention: BeReal.
Instagram is testing a feature called “IG Candid Challenges” that looks very similar to the core of BeReal, an app that has been labeled the anti-Instagram for its focus on “unique” posts. On BeReal, users receive prompts at random times every day, if you think, “BeReal.” They then take two minutes to capture and post an unfiltered before-and-after photo of what they did in that moment.
Also, the Candidate Contest option encourages Instagram users “every day at different times” to share a photo to their profile within a two-minute period, according to Photos of the new unit have been shared on social media. It also seems to use dual-camera photography – a selfie and rear-camera photo at the same time – which is one of BeReal’s hallmarks.
A Meta spokesperson confirmed to CNN Business that the IG Candid Challenge feature is being tested internally, without further details. “This feature is an internal model, not an external test,” said Christine Pai, a Meta spokeswoman.
BeReal was launched at the end of 2019 but became very popular at the beginning of this year. The app has been downloaded 43.3 million times since its launch, with more than 40 million of those downloads occurring in 2022, according to Apptopia. This summer, BeReal took first place on Apple’s App Store in the United States. It was founded by an entrepreneur in France, but Apptopia data indicates that its biggest market is the United States.
BeReal did not immediately respond to CNN Business’ request for comment.
Instagram previously appeared to follow one of BeReal’s most popular features earlier this summer, with the launch of an option called “Double.” The feature allows users to record using the phone’s front and rear cameras at the same time.
In recent years, Facebook and its parent company Meta have been criticized by lawmakers and some users for trying to stifle competition by locking down key features. Last month Instagram faced a backlash from users, including members of the Kardashian family, who expressed dismay that the app was too similar to TikTok. Instagram is finally rolling back some of its changes.
Following BeReal, Meta may be struggling to retain younger users, who seem to have embraced the newer service. But Meta also needs to address the reasons why some people find the app confusing. A BeReal user and Georgetown University student told CNN earlier this year that he believes the app is popular because it’s a cure for the pressures of looking good online.