Start-up of the Week: Beauty app connects customers with makeup artists and photographers

Start-up of the Week: Beauty app connects customers with makeup artists and photographers
Updated 19 September 2018

Start-up of the Week: Beauty app connects customers with makeup artists and photographers

Start-up of the Week: Beauty app connects customers with makeup artists and photographers
  • The FRH app offers its services in Saudi Arabia, in both Madinah and Makkah regions

JEDDAH: Keeping up with the 2030 Vision and supporting Saudi women was behind the concept of the FRH app, which connects customers with professional makeup artists and photographers.
Kholoud Al-Mehdar, public relations director of FRH Application, said customers then rated and reviewed their experience with the service provider.
“The FRH app is targeting Saudi Arabia for starters, then expanding in the Middle East. The crowd-sourcing industry is ever growing in the Arabian market, and FRH is hunting that market share through connecting people who are looking for good service and cheap prices together with their targeted professionals without any subscription fees,” Kholoud said.
The FRH app offers its services in Saudi Arabia, in both Madinah and Makkah regions, and will expand to the rest of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East as the business expands.
FRH launched in January, enabling people to connect easily through instant messaging via the app and the rating service as well for the provided services. The application is free. The services that can be found through this app are for makeup, hair, hair removal, tattoo, nails, skin care and for photography.
“We had the idea almost a year and a half ago where we thought about all the problems facing ladies and beauty artists and photographers in Saudi Arabia. These problems include: Having a lot of upcoming weddings, engagements, parties and not enough time to prepare for them. Also, there are so many good makeup artists that people don’t know about and many photographers whose talents are hidden from the public,” Kholoud said.
She added that people generally did not trust those who worked individually, and for these services peers tended to provide lot of suggestions on who to choose.
“The best ones are so expensive and the cheap ones use bad-quality materials or take bad-quality pictures,” she said. “All these problems were facing women in the present time, since most of the services are now done online, people communicate and have everything done in seconds. So why not booking makeup artists and photographers online as well?
That’s when she and her team started working on the idea of FRH app to solve these problems and to help service providers and customers connect through an elegant and simple platform.
Kholoud is from Madinah, Saudi Arabia. She holds an MA in TESOL from Adelphi University and is a certified makeup artist from Make Up For Ever Academy in New York.
FRH team’s vision is to change the standard rate of service locally through providing quality service and to become a leader in the industry.


Alibaba facial recognition tech specifically picks out China’s Muslim Uighur minority

Alibaba facial recognition tech specifically picks out China’s Muslim Uighur minority
Updated 18 December 2020

Alibaba facial recognition tech specifically picks out China’s Muslim Uighur minority

Alibaba facial recognition tech specifically picks out China’s Muslim Uighur minority
  • Alibaba itself said it was “dismayed” a unit developed software which can tag ethnicity in videos
  • Alibaba is the biggest cloud computing vendor in China and the fourth worldwide

SHANGHAI: Technology giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has facial recognition technology which can specifically pick out members of China’s Uighur minority, surveillance industry researcher IPVM said in a report.
Alibaba itself said it was “dismayed” a unit developed software which can tag ethnicity in videos, and that the feature was never intended to be deployed to customers.
The report comes as human rights groups accuse China of forcing over 1 million Muslim Uighurs into labor camps in the region of Xinjiang, and call out firms suspected of complicity.
China has repeatedly denied forcing anyone into what it has called vocational training centers, and has also said Xinjiang is under threat from Islamist militants.
Still, sensitivities have prompted caution among Chinese Internet firms which often self-censor to avoid running afoul of a government which strictly controls online speech, and which last month published draft rules to police livestreaming.
US-based IPVM in a report published on Wednesday said software capable of identifying Uighurs appears in Alibaba’s Cloud Shield content moderation service for websites.
Alibaba describes Cloud Shield as a system that “detects and recognizes text, pictures, videos, and voices containing pornography, politics, violent terrorism, advertisements, and spam, and provides verification, marking, custom configuration and other capabilities.”
An archived record of the technology https://perma.cc/9ZUV-UD2F shows it can perform such tasks as “glasses inspection,” “smile detection,” whether the subject is “ethnic” and, specifically, “Is it Uighur.”
Consequently, if a Uighur livestreams a video on a website signed up to Cloud Shield, the software can detect that the user is Uighur and flag the video for review or removal, IPVM researcher Charles Rollet told Reuters.
IPVM said mention of Uighurs in the software disappeared near the time it published its report.
Alibaba in a statement said it was “dismayed” that Alibaba Cloud developed facial recognition software that includes ethnicity as an attribute for tagging video imagery, and that it never intended the software to be used in this manner. The feature was “trial technology” not intended for customers.
Alibaba did not mention Uighurs in its statement.
“We have eliminated any ethnic tag in our product offering,” an Alibaba spokeswoman told Reuters.
Alibaba is listed on both the New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges. It is the biggest cloud computing vendor in China and the fourth worldwide, showed data from researcher Canalys.
Earlier this month, US lawmakers sent letters to Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp. following reports of their computer chips being used in the surveillance of Uighurs.