Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is reportedly working on a new feature for its instant messaging platform Messenger that will prompt the members of a conversation group to share a real-time picture of what they are doing.
Social media consultant Matt Navarra, who is known for leaking upcoming updates from social media apps by keeping track of new elements added to their source code, was the first to spot what Meta is working on.
Here’s what Messenger’s BeReal-ish “Roll Call” looks like https://t.co/LaPBctafNI
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) February 22, 2023
According to his findings, Meta has named the photo-sharing tool “Roll Call” and it will essentially work similarly to BeReal – the social media platform that rose to popularity last year as users were disgruntled with the changes that Instagram was making to its interface back then.
Same as with BeReal, the members of the conversation group will be prompted by the system to share a photo once a day to keep others in the loop of what they are currently doing. Only those who have uploaded the picture will be able to see what others shared.
Both the front and rear cameras of the user’s device will be used to take the picture of their whereabouts. One distinctive aspect of Rolls Calls, however, is that the group’s members can prompt the sharing event instead of being caught by surprise by a daily call.
The Roll Call can be accompanied by a text message that could encourage the members of the group to share a specific aspect of their routine such as what they are eating, where they are, or who they are with.
A countdown will accompany the roll call to give users a sense of urgency and to keep things “real” – pun intended.
BeReal May Have Been a Passing Fad but Meta is Not Taking Any Chances
Meta Platforms (META) could also be working to add the same option to Instagram as reported by Alessandro Paluzzi, a mobile developer with a reputation for leaking features that are currently in the works, in October 2022.
In December last year, Instagram and Facebook tested a new feature called “Candid Stories” that worked almost exactly like BeReal. It is not clear if the concept stuck. The fact that Meta is testing a different approach may be a hint that users did not fully embrace the systematic and periodical sharing of their routines.
Meta missed the boat initially when changes in how users preferred to share and view content started to become evident amid the rise of TikTok and its viral short videos. In this case, it seems that the company does not want to do that again and is making sure that what BeReal offered users that made it so popular last year is also available within the platforms Meta owns.
In any case, real-time photo-sharing may have been just a passing fad as the number of downloads and daily usage of BeReal has been declining dramatically lately according to data compiled by Apptopia.
In February 2023, BeReal reportedly had 10.4 million daily active users (DAUs) compared to 20 million it boasted by October last year. In addition, the number of app downloads dropped from 12 million in September 2022 to just 3.3 million in January.
Will Meta Fully Embrace the BeReal Model?
As with all other leaked updates, the fact that Meta is testing these features is not necessarily proof that they will ever release them or that they will work as they do now.
What seems to be clear is that engineers within Meta have had their hands busy lately as the company has launched multiple new features in the first couple of months of 2023 including a “one-to-many” message broadcasting tool for Instagram called Channels and a premium subscription package called Meta Verified.
In addition, we reported that Meta is working on a new tool that will be incorporated into its instant messaging platform WhatsApp. The tool is called Newsletter and it could be a way for businesses, organizations, or entertainers to send information to their loyal customer base.
Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Meta Platforms, has promised investors that this will be a “year of efficiency” for the company. It seems that part of this goal includes trimming the firm’s overhead – something that the Menlo Park-based social media company has partially accomplished by laying off thousands of employees.
In addition, Zuckerberg could also be looking for ways to further monetize its assets and stay in the loop of what is going on in the social media space.
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