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Privacy problems of BeReal, the fashionable social network

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Relying on the search for spontaneity and the fight against posturing, BeReal has become the latest social boom, with significant growth in a very short time, accumulating more than 50 million app downloads worldwide during 2022.

BeReal notifies the user every day at a random moment after which they have two minutes to share with their users a selfie accompanied by a capture from the rear camera

Its operation is very simple: every day and at a random moment, the user receives a notice after which they will have two minutes to take a selfie that will also be accompanied by the capture made by the rear camera. Therefore, the aim is to share an improvised moment, without filters, without posturing and with barely two minutes to “prepare” the staging.

It is about combating the images shared through Instagram or TikTok in which users usually show off their studied poses, in spectacular settings and with a very careful appearance (besides adding filters and image editing).

Privacy issues in BeReal

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But despite the good intentions that would seem to support this social network based on authenticity and spontaneity, specialist warnings are beginning to emerge regarding the vulnerability of younger users and, especially, privacy risksdrawing attention to the following aspects:

-Reveal data against the will of the user: Due to the very nature of spontaneous photography and that it includes a capture from the front camera and another from the rear camera, the user can disseminate more information than he might wish to communicate related to his environment or those around him, as well as their activity patterns.

-Long-term transfer of images: The conditions of use of the BeReal platform include the authorization to said social network for the reuse of the images published by the user for 30 years, which means that the shared photographs may be part of advertising or promotional campaigns without the user can decide on that use. A particularly problematic circumstance in the case of younger and immature users who may not be aware of the long-term repercussions of their actions.

-Absence of content control: BeReal disclaims any responsibility for the published content, stating that it will not carry out any type of control over it, which may lead to the platform ending up hosting offensive or hateful content, just the opposite of what is criticized. to other social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or TikTok, accused of excessive zeal in the censorship that they print to some of the content published by their users.

-Active geolocation: Unlike what happens with other social networks, the automatic geolocation of images is not turned off in BeReal, so users will have to manually activate or deactivate it when sharing images.

-Cookies: In this case, it does not make any difference with other social networks or platforms. The use of third-party cookies allows these platforms to show their users relational advertising with content that matches their personal preferences, habits and tastes.

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