When it first took off, BeReal enchanted people fed up with staged Instagram photos. Dubbed “anti-Instagram,” this app was all about sharing real, unfiltered moments from your daily life. But although the app is free, it might cost you your privacy, big time.
In a report from Avast, the company’s Global Head of Security, Jeff Williams, took a closer look at BeReal. According to him, the app keeps your photos and the right to use them as it pleases for 30 years That’s a very long time, and Williams argues that it can harm your life and career.
In the report, Avast discusses several potential dangers of BeReal for its users. Williams says that he gave the app’s terms of service a close read and discovered that the app is granted to use your photos as it wants for 30 years. “In addition to it being an unusually long time period, the nature of the app, which potentially rewards sharing embarrassing or compromising situations, means there’s a very high risk for young people sharing without the thought of future consequences,” the report reads.
“Imagine your most compromising and embarrassing moment being attached to an ad campaign to your friends or to content which goes viral and garners millions of viewers,” Williams says. “Thirty years is largely forever in internet time and potentially covers 60+% of someone’s career years. This seems to be a particularly long grant of rights with exceptionally broad permissions for use.”
But there are other dangers than accidentally embarrassing yourself 30 years from now. Due to the time pressure paired with “unfiltered reality,” you may reveal things you didn’t intend to. This includes sensitive information like your location, your company’s whiteboard, etc. You may also accidentally share “privacy invasive photos of people who have not opted-in to the service and who may have a right to an expectation of privacy.” Still, the latter happens with all social media, doesn’t it?
Williams also mentions the lack of content moderation, automatic enabling of geolocation, and third-party cookies as problems that BeReal imposes upon its users. However, these are all pretty standard on social media. All of these are the ways we pay for using “free” apps because there’s such a thing as free lunch. But as Avast’s report concludes, and I agree: maybe just ask yourself if you really really want one more corporation to have access to so much info about you.
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