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TikTok adds authenticity feature that mirrors BeReal

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A new TikTok Now feature prompts users to take spontaneous photos or videos using front and rear cameras of smartphones, putting its own spin on rival social network BeReal./AFP
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Sep 16, 2022 - 08:03 AM

SAN FRANCISCO –– TikTok on Thursday added an authenticity feature that has been a winner for French app BeReal, taking a page from Meta’s playbook by copying a rival.

The social media giant described its TikTok Now feature as “a daily photo and video experience to share your most authentic moments” using a smartphone’s front and rear cameras simultaneously.

“You’ll receive a daily prompt to capture a 10-second video or a static photo to easily share what you’re up to,” TikTok said in a post.

TikTok said the Now feature was available on the app in the United States and will be rolled out worldwide in coming weeks.

People have been flocking to BeReal, a new social network app that calls on users to share true glimpses of their lives rather than cherry-picked moments.

Once a day, BeReal prompts users to take photos of what they are doing, giving them two minutes to post.

The app uses front and rear facing cameras on phones, putting “selfies” into context.

The approach is a sharp contrast to the carefully curated images common on Instagram and Facebook.

“The ideal of BeReal is you are just in a moment — where are you and what are you doing right now,” said Jennifer Stromer-Galley, a professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies in the United States.

“Our lived lives, not our best lives — maybe you are walking the dog or in your pajamas eating cereal.”

Launched two years ago by French entrepreneurs, BeReal has seen its popularity surge in recent months.

BeReal’s rise signals that people are tired of polished online images that don’t reflect actual life, Creative Strategies tech analyst Carolina Milanesi told AFP.

Stromer-Galley, however, questioned whether the authenticity factor alone would be enough to keep people loyal to BeReal, as other social networks vie for their attention.

Instagram told AFP it has worked internally on a BeReal-like prototype feature but is not testing it.

Instagram-parent Meta has a history of copying features such as ephemeral photos and live streaming video that proved hits with users of rival apps, bolstering the appeal of its platform while fending off competition.

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