Instagram's next feature might be a copy of BeReal

Instagram's “Candid Challenges” are currently an "internal prototype," according to the company.

Charles Platiau / Reuters

Instagram is testing a new feature called Candid Challenges, which bears a striking resemblance to BeReal, a photo sharing app popular among Gen. Z. The currently unreleased feature was spotted by Alessandro Paluzzi, a developer known for reverse engineering apps and finding early versions of upcoming updates. An Instagram spokesperson confirmed the feature is an "internal prototype," but declined to provide additional details.

According to Paluzzi, Instagram users participating in Candid Challenges will see a notification at a different time each day to snap a photo of their surroundings. Upon getting the prompt, the Instagram camera will also open with both front and rear-facing shooters, and give users a two-minute window to snap a pic. Content shared via the challenges will appear in the Stories tray.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because the functionality sounds nearly identical to BeReal, a selfie app marketed as a more candid and authentic alternative to mainstream social media platforms. The app, which originally launched in 2019, also prompts users to take a photo using their phone’s front and rear-facing cameras at a random time each day. The daily prompts also expire after two minutes, after which users can view all the photos shared by their friends that day.

It's not yet clear if or when Instagram intends to launch the feature. An Instagram spokesperson described the feature as an "internal prototype" that's "not testing externally." But the fact that the company is testing the functionality suggests it's at least considering replicating the app inside of its own service.

BeReal has a big following among Gen. Z, and has been rising in popularity over the last several months. BeReal is currently sitting in the top position in Apple's App Store, ahead of both Instagram (No. 8) and Facebook (No. 18). It's been among the ten most-popular free apps for much of this summer.

Mark Zuckerberg has said Meta’s future relies on appealing to young adults, who are increasingly spending their time on non-Meta platforms. And while TikTok is currently its top competitor, the company is known to closely monitor its rivals and has often copied features from other services. Instagram also recently added a new "Dual" setting to its in-app camera that mimics the shooting style popularized by BeReal.