Meta is testing a BeReal-style “Roll Call” feature on its apps which will invite users to add a photo or a video to a prompt to show what they are up to within five minutes.
Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, confirmed to TechCrunch on Wednesday that it was internally testing the new Roll Call feature on its apps.
The feature was spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra this week. In a concept similar to BeReal’s premise, Roll Call invites users to add a photo or video to a prompt that would let them “see what everyone is up to in a group chat.”
⚡️FIRST LOOK: Meta is testing its BeReal-style ‘Roll Call’ feature in Messenger pic.twitter.com/UzMkRhba4K
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) February 22, 2023
But while BeReal automatically asks users to post a photo at a randomized time once per day, a person must start a Roll Call in a group chat on a Meta-owned app and they can do so at any given time.
The individual starting the Roll Call can add custom prompts to request, to see photos of other users’ lunches or current locations for example.
Once a person starts a Roll Call, a notification is sent to all of the users in the group chat. Then, people in “a group chat” will get a timed countdown of five minutes to respond to a roll call with their own photos to encourage participation.
According to Navarra’s screenshots, only users who add their photo or video to the roll call can see other responses — in a similar style to BeReal.
Navarra’s post specifically reveals how Roll Call works in Facebook Messenger. However, the feature appears to be being tested on other Meta apps too.
#Instagram keeps working on "Roll Call", a new way to see what everyone is up to in a group chat 👀
ℹ️ You have 5 minutes to add a photo or video
ℹ️ Roll calls and any responses expire after 24h pic.twitter.com/Pq5orJBbxF
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) December 2, 2022
In October, developer and reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi found that Instagram was developing a roll call feature that would similarly enable group chat members to request that all participants add a photo or video of themselves to the chat within five minutes.
This is not the first time Meta has looked to “anti-Instagram” photo-sharing app BeReal for inspiration. In December, Instagram officially launched “Candid Stories” which randomly prompts users to take spontaneous selfies with a back-facing and front-facing camera at the same time.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via 123RF.