Meta Platforms’ Instagram appears to be copying another up-and-coming social media competitor: BeReal, the popular photo app that prompts users to take and post an image once a day at the same time as all their friends.

Instagram, Meta’s own photo- and video-sharing app, is testing a feature that looks almost identical to BeReal, according to a screenshot posted on Twitter by developer Alessandro Paluzzi. In the image, Instagram asks users to “Join IG Candid Challenges” and “everyday at a different time, get a notification to capture and share a photo in 2 minutes”.

That’s the basic premise of BeReal. An Instagram spokesman said the tool is an “internal prototype” that is “not testing externally”. A BeReal spokesman had no immediate comment.

BeReal, founded in 2020 and headquartered in Paris, has become popular with teenagers thanks to its push to get people to post at the same time. Snapping images at an unexpected time each day has also led to a less polished experience, because users aren’t spending time staging, editing or perfecting the images — a frequent criticism of the posts on Instagram.

Meta has a history of copying the features of upstart competitors, including Snapchat’s Stories product and TikTok’s short-form videos. BeReal has raised money from venture capital firms such as Andreessen Horowitz and Accel.  — Bloomberg LP