Instagram Is Trying To BeReal

By: James Flippin · December 15, 2022 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Insta’s New Update

Instagram (META), owned by Meta Platforms, recently announced a new feature called Candid Stories. This feature will prompt users throughout the day to post unfiltered photos using the front and back cameras.

If this sounds familiar, that’s probably because it’s exactly what BeReal does. The pro-authenticity photo app has amassed tens of millions of downloads since it launched a little over one year ago.

At first, Instagram’s Candid Stories will only be available in South Africa, with no word yet on when it might go global. But another recently-announced feature, Notes, will be rolled out to all users immediately. Notes allows you to share short text posts, which will appear for 24 hours at the top of your friends’ DM inboxes.

Can’t Beat ‘Em?

In classic fashion, Instagram has been keeping tabs on what works for other social media companies and cherry-picking the best features to integrate it into its own platform.

The photo app did this previously in 2016, through its Stories feature, a format originally made popular by Snapchat (SNAP). And it did so again in 2020, with the launch of Instagram Reels, similar to TikTok.

This time around, Instagram has its cloning machine aimed at BeReal, which has racked up 73.7 million downloads since its launch last December. BeReal has been noted for its popularity among Gen Z, and for signifying a shift in social media user preference toward authenticity.


Over the past year, many users — including members of the influencer family — have complained that Instagram has become overrun with sponsored posts, ads, and overly-doctored photos.

Subsequently, people are turning to apps like BeReal to get back in touch with their real friends — and maybe even their real selves.

By instituting Candid Stories, there’s a chance that Instagram might once again regain its standing as the preferred photo sharing app among younger generations. But perhaps continuing its strategy of imitating competitors will only reinforce its turning reputation.

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