The French BeReal app, against the tide of social networks, is a success as far as the United States – Edition du soir Ouest-France

By Mathilde LE PETITCORPS

The French application BeReal, designed to share real authentic moments of life, without filters, against the current of other social networks, is on the rise. Last year she had already conquered many teenagers in France, she is now a hit in the United States. Its success lies in the principle of the application itself.

It is a rising French application. BeReal (“Be real”) is a social network for sharing photos without filters, at a given moment of the day, intended to give a real insight into one’s life, unlike Instagram, TikTok or Facebook, where images are often retouched. Since its launch two years ago by Alexis Barreyat, a young Drômois who was then 25 years old, former computer school 42 created by the French billionaire Xavier Niel, BeReal continues to be talked about.

Last year, BeReal registered more than 10,000 downloads per day with 400,000 regular users. This performance was already qualified as ” outstanding “ for a French app. And this year, BeReal continues its ascent across the Atlantic, a successful bet for Alexis Barreyat, who entrusted last year to West France : “We intend to tackle the international market. »

In fact, the app reached a record number of downloads in April 2022 on the Apple and Google download stores. According to Apptopia, which analyzes the competition of mobile applications, “Over the past two weeks, BeReal has seen 710,000 downloads on iOS and Google Play combined, a 137% increase from downloads in the previous two weeks,” is detailed in an article published on April 4, 2022.

“65% of BeReal downloads took place in 2022, even though the app has been around for two years. » The app has been downloaded over 5 million times since its launch two years ago and has over 2.5 million active users, daily. “It’s better than Instagram in its infancy”, comment on the radio France Inter .

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What is the recipe for its success?

Its success lies in the principle of the application itself, which differs from other social networks. Concretely, BeReal works as follows: every day, at a random time different from the day before, all users receive a notification encouraging them to simultaneously post a “BeReal”, i.e. a photo taken by both smartphone cameras. The one on the back then shows the environment in which we are and the one on the front takes a selfie which reveals what the person is doing. And each has only two minutes to do so. The published photos can then be seen by a group of friends and, if the user authorizes it, by the general public.

BeReal’s goal is honesty: it’s about showing what you’re really doing, without the possibility of editing or advantageous filters. We therefore see his friends or other people slumped on their sofa, cleansed, at school, doing their shopping or even in the middle of a concert.

These simple and unadorned photos, far from the beautiful polished and retouched photos as we see on Instagram – and which do not reflect reality – this is precisely what seduces users. This is also what pleased Lola, 22 years old at the start. “And especially the fact of only sharing photos with my closest friends and receiving theirs, she adds. I found the application innovative because we found ourselves there in small groups. » She also appreciates its not too intrusive side: “You can only use it for a few minutes a day”, she comments.

Not so far from other social networks?

Then Lola got bored and uninstalled the app. “I mainly used BeReal during confinement, she says, once I was able to hang out with my friends again, I didn’t really see the point. » And then, when the application started to be more widely known, its circle on BeReal quickly widened. “I no longer wanted to display unfiltered photos of my private life there, or at least I no longer published the same content”, continues Lola. And finally, she said, “I found that the app was starting to look like other social networks, like Instagram, there was a voyeuristic side, which pushes you to control your image”. The authenticity advocated by BeReal therefore remains a matter of perspective. And it also remains to be seen whether, like Lola, recent American users of the app will not get tired in turn.

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