If you hear the familiar ping of the BeReal app beckoning you to take a photo while sitting at your desk at work, you might want to think twice before snapping a shot, experts are warning workers.
BeReal, a candid-camera social media app with millions of downloads, urges its users to defy filters and over-curating their lives by posting a single picture at a random time each day, which is shared with family and friends. The user only has two minutes from when they receive their daily notification to take a picture.
While the intention behind the app may be harmless, security experts fear that users could easily give away sensitive information, which could put their jobs at risk.
“Firstly, you will more than likely be breaking data protection laws if there’s any personal data on those screens,” data protection expert Emma Green told BBC. “Especially if people are zooming in and reading emails, you may well be in breach of contract... it could lead to disciplinaries, and so you could find yourself in a lot of trouble with your employer.”
Some social media users are catching onto the potential dangers of the candid photos, too.
“BeReal is going to be the reason someone accidentally leaks something extremely confidential from their job and brings their company down,” one Twitter user wrote. Others admitted to zooming into their friends and followers’ BeReal photos to peek at emails and work-related documents in the background.
“BeReal has skyrocketed in popularity because of how unfiltered it is compared to other social media platforms, but it’s important to consider the risks first before you send off a quick picture at work,” employment lawyer Jayne Harrison told Metro.
“’I wasn’t aware’ or ‘I didn’t realise’ is not a defense, unfortunately,” Green told BBC.
When a user takes a photo on BeReal, the app uses the front and back camera in the shot – which could easily trip up people taking photos if they forget what is on the other side of their phones.
“Although the user might point at one thing to photograph, the camera will also take a picture of the user themselves,” Internet Matters says on its website. “It’s important for young people to be aware of their surroundings to avoid posting anything they don’t want online.” – The Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service