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Instagram Copies 'Anti-Instagram' App BeReal in Latest Experiment

Instagram app logo on a phone screen
Facebook parent company Meta owns Instagram.
Sarah Tew/CNET

What's happening

Instagram is experimenting internally with notifying users to share a photo with their friends within 2 minutes, like French social media app BeReal.

Why it matters

Instagram could eventually roll out a BeReal clone to its users as it tries to fend off another rival that's growing in popularity among teens.

It was only a matter of time before Instagram copied another rival.

The photo-and-video service, owned by Facebook parent company Meta, has been experimenting internally with a feature called IG Candid that looks identical to the popular French social media app BeReal. Dubbed the "anti-Instagram," BeReal is an app where users get notified once a day to share an unfiltered photo with their friends within 2 minutes. 

Developer Alessandro Paluzzi spotted the Instagram feature and tweeted about the experiment on Monday.

Meta spokeswoman Christine Pai said in a statement that IG Candid "is an internal prototype and not testing externally." When asked if Instagram did plan to test the feature externally, Pai said she didn't have much more to share beyond the statement.

The internal experiment is a sign that Instagram could eventually roll out a BeReal clone as it competes with social media apps that are popular among teens. Instagram has already rolled out a way to record content using a phone's front and back camera like on BeReal. While Instagram is known for being an online space where people share filtered photos and videos of themselves that seem a little too perfect, the platform has been trying to encourage its users to share a more authentic side like people are on BeReal and short-form video app TikTok.

Both Facebook and Instagram are notorious for copying its rivals, but its users haven't always been happy with the changes. In July, Instagram stopped testing a new full-screen feed that made it look more like TikTok after facing user backlash including from celebrities Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner who urged the app to focus on photo-sharing between friends. Instagram has been doubling down on its short-form video feature Reels as it contends with competition from TikTok. Facebook and Instagram also copied a format called Stories, which lets users share photos and videos that vanish in 24 hours, from disappearing messaging app Snapchat. 

Launched in 2020, BeReal is currently at the top of Apple's charts for free apps, surpassing Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat and Google-owned YouTube.