The BeReal social media app is having a moment.
A photo-sharing app, it sends a daily prompt (at a different time each day) to users to quickly snap and share an image in real time—and is the #1 download in the Apple App Store’s social category. And it is the seventh most popular on Google Play.
This success, however, catches the attention of other social giants, who quickly rush 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 idea, announces TikTok Now on Thursday.
“TikTok Now invites you and your friends to capture what you’re doing right now using your device’s front and rear cameras,” the company said in a statement. “You’ll get a daily message prompting you to take a 10-second video or still photo to easily share what you’re doing.”
In the US, the feature will be included in the TikTok app, but other regions may need to download a separate app to join in on the fun. As with BeReal, these videos are shared with the user’s chosen community.
TikTok isn’t the first to take a swipe BeReal’s idea. Last month this was leaked Post was working on Candid Challenges for Instagram, which follows the formula of a daily prompt and instant change. A representative confirmed the operation on Fast Companysaying, “This feature is an internal prototype and is not tested externally.”
It’s certainly a validation of BeReal’s core concept, though the company already knew it had a hit on its hands. BeReal has been downloaded more than 20 million times since he debuted. The French startup was founded by ex-GoPro employee Alexis Barreyat in 2020 and is especially popular among college-age users.
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but in the corporate world, it can also be an obstacle—sometimes an insurmountable one. So will TikTok’s move and a possible one from Meta put an end to BeReal’s growth trajectory?
BeReal raised an $85 million Series B round in May, quadrupling its valuation to more than $600 million, according Business Insider. They’re not Meta or TikTok numbers, but they’re not insignificant.
However, the social media landscape is littered with the corpses of companies that were billed as the next big thing. Remember Vine? Meerkats? Yik Yak?
Just a year ago, the Clubhouse was the envy of social media users as people clamored for an invite. But once Meta and Twitter began to offer their own alternativeshis star is beginning to fade.
BeReal is currently not generating revenue and there are not BeReal influencers. (Yet.) It envisions itself as a return to the roots of social media, with friends interacting with each other in an authentic way.
BeReal has a loyal user base, but given how quickly big tech companies adopt (or outright copy) popular innovations, it can be increasingly difficult for growing companies to gain—and maintain—a foothold in the market.