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13th Sep 2022

‘It’s important to consider the risks’ Employment lawyer warns against using BeReal at work

Katy Thornton

bereal work

There’s a risk in being too authentic.

While BeReal may be establishing itself as a more authentic social media alternative to the likes of Instagram and TikTok, an employment lawyer has issued a warning against using the platform at work.

With the app, users are given a two-minute window to snap a picture of their surroundings and a selfie, and, as they take the selfie, they’re not able to see exactly what they’re capturing. The platform awards authenticity. It encourages its users to, quite literally, be real. If they upload a photo from their gallery rather than one in the spur of the moment, their followers are alerted to this. Additionally, there are no filters on the app whatsoever, so what you see if what you get.

Having said that, there are some concerns over using the app, particularly during company time. The BeReal notification can go out at any time of day. Should it ping during working hours, it’s likely you’ll get an insight into your friends’ jobs. They might post a snap of their office set-up, or maybe even what they’re working on at the minute.

While we mightn’t think twice about sharing pics from our 9-5, one employment lawyer has outlined that there could be serious consequences for doing so.

Jayne Harrison, who is the head of employment law at Richard Nelson LLP, has warned BeReal users to be mindful of how they post.

She said: “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.

“For instance, you could be breaching your company’s rules by sharing information on your laptop screen, even if it’s just in the background of a photo. If confidential emails relating to your company or individuals at work are captured, other BeReal users are able to zoom in on the photos and see – not only breaching your company’s rules but data protection too.

“Most companies will have set rules about breaching confidentiality either in their disciplinary policy or staff handbook. However, once confidentiality is lost, it can’t be recovered so companies will often regard any breach as serious and warrant a dismissal for gross misconduct as a result.”

To avoid breaching confidentiality, Harrison warns employees to never share a picture that might divulge personal names, home addresses, images, personal or work phone numbers, personal and work emails, company names or office addresses, financial information or commercially sensitive information.
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