Is BeReal safe?  A guide to all the data the app takes and what you can do to improve your security

Is BeReal safe? A guide to all the data the app takes and what you can do to improve your security

  • BeReal is safe to use, as long as you are careful who you send photos to.
  • You must ensure that you do not include any personal or sensitive information in your BeReal photos.
  • The BeReal app takes no more of your data than any other social media app, like Instagram or Snapchat.

New social media app BeReal has recently reached the top of every “Most Downloaded Apps” chart. The basic concept behind this is that you can only take one photo per day, and you never know when it will happen during the day.

But before using any new social media app, no matter how popular, you need to take the time to see if it’s actually safe to use.

That’s why we’ve reviewed BeReal’s privacy policy and put together this guide on every bit of data and information BeReal takes in, how it compares to other apps, and what you can do to stay safe when you use it.

What types of data does BeReal see?

In general, we can divide the type of data BeReal sees into three categories: Personal data, Device dataand Content data.

Personal data

To register with BeReal, you must provide your name, date of birth and a telephone number. BeReal uses this data to identify you when you log in, and although only your name is public, they retain everything data on their servers. It stays on those servers for up to three years after you last used the app, or until you contact BeReal to request its removal.

They also ask you to create a username. It’s not as personal as the other information, but if you use the same username in multiple apps, it can be used to find those other accounts.

Finally, BeReal will repeatedly ask you to give the app access to your phone’s contact list. This will let you know which of your contacts also have BeReal accounts, so you can easily add them to your friends list, but it also means that all of their phone numbers will be saved on BeReal’s servers.

A message in the BeReal app asking the user to let the app search for their contacts.

BeReal will ask you to search your contact list.

Be real; William Antonelli/Insider

BeReal promises not to disclose any personal information to third parties, and there is no evidence that BeReal’s security is compromised in any way. But you should always be wary of giving your information to social media companies.

Device data

As soon as you open BeReal, it automatically knows what type of device you’re using, what version of iOS or Android you have, and your IP address. This is how most websites and apps work.

Your IP address also tells BeReal your current general location. But that’s usually no more specific than the city you’re in, and you can even spoof your IP location using a VPN.

Finally, BeReal knows how often you open the app. This isn’t very sensitive information, but some people might not like an app logging in every time they open it.

BeReal keeps all this information for two years.

Content data

And now the big stuff.

Each time you publish a photo on BeReal, this photo is saved on BeReal’s servers. The same goes for any comments you make or RealMojis – reactions that use an actual photo of you – that you give. They remain there for up to three years after the last use of the application or until you contact BeReal.

BeReal is not the only one who can save them. Anyone who sees your BeReal posts and comments can capture them and potentially share them with others.

That’s why you shouldn’t add someone you don’t trust as a friend on BeReal. And if you post something that you don’t want shared outside of your community, don’t post it on the public discovery page.

A photo taken in the BeReal app, with the visibility option

If your BeReal post is set to “Discover”, it is public.

Be real; William Antonelli/Insider

Also, make sure you don’t accidentally take a picture of anything that could get you in trouble at work, like internal company spreadsheets or trade secrets. Jayne Harrison, head of employment law at UK law firm Richard Nelson LLP, even warns that employees who post sensitive work information could be fired or face legal risks.

Every time you post a photo on BeReal, it will ask you for your current location. This location is shared with BeReal (who saves it for three years) and anyone who sees your photo. It’s never a good idea to share your exact location online, so it’s best to turn this setting off.

Taking photos means you need to give BeReal access to your camera. And to save photos, you need to give it access to your phone’s camera roll. BeReal doesn’t know exactly how long they keep this data, but it’s for at least two years after the last time you post a photo.

Insider takeaway: BeReal is relatively safe

It is true that BeReal takes and stores a decent amount of data. And if you’re worried about big companies knowing your personal information, it’s probably not worth creating a BeReal account.

But overall, BeReal is no more dangerous than any other social media app.

If anything, it’s safer. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter take everything BeReal does, but also closely monitor all of your interests, political views, search history, and even recent purchases. Compared to them, BeReal has a fairly limited reach.

As we noted earlier, BeReal has yet to experience any sort of data breach. And since you have to enter a unique code every time you log in, your account has a lot of natural security.

If (or when) BeReal adds more features, that could change. But for now, BeReal is safe – or at least, as safe as any social media app can be these days.

You can ask BeReal to delete your data earlier

BeReal retains most of your personal information for at least two years after it is collected, even if you delete your account. But if you want to erase this data sooner, you can ask BeReal to do so.

To contact BeReal, you can either send an email to contact@bere.alor you can send a physical letter to BeReal, 30/32 boulevard de Sebastopol, 75004 Paris France.

There is no guarantee that they will obey all requests, but they try to accommodate each one.

How to limit the information BeReal can see

All data requested by BeReal are not mandatory. This means you can improve your privacy by limiting what BeReal can see.

If you’re on an iPhone, open the Settings app and scroll down to the list of apps, then select Be real. Here you can disable BeReal’s location permissions and its access to your contacts and camera.

On an Android, open the Settings app and tap appsthen All Appsso what Be real. Faucet Permissionsand you can choose whether it is allowed to access your camera, contacts, location, etc.

Pages on iPhone and Android that allow you to choose how much access BeReal has to your phone.

iPhone and Android allow you to change BeReal’s access settings.

William Antonelli/Insider

Just note that you technically need to give BeReal camera access to use most of the app – you can’t post photos or view other people’s photos without it.

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