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Alibaba’s new social media app wants you to scan your friends’ faces

Alibaba’s new social media app wants you to scan your friends’ faces
“Scan face and add impressions to know her,” says the app’s description on China’s iOS App Store. (Picture: Real如我)

China’s ecommerce giant Alibaba is taking another crack at social media with an app called Real, which will let users scan faces to add someone as a friend on the app. The company says the app is based around both facial recognition and location.

On China’s iOS App Store, the app’s version histories suggest that users can take a picture of someone and the app will be able to find them using facial recognition. This appears to be a signature feature. A post on the app’s official WeChat account in October 2018 declares “Face is your best ID.” We couldn’t confirm whether the the feature works, though. The app is only testing in colleges in Hangzhou, and invitation codes aren’t widely available.

Alibaba has ventured into social media before with mixed results. The company’s answer to WeChat, a messaging app named Laiwang, was a failure. But Alibaba’s enterprise chat app DingTalk is a leader in China with more than 10 million companies and 200 million individual users.

(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba.)

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TikTok and other video platforms introduce anti-addiction mode

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Huawei opens world’s first flagship store
Huawei opens world’s first flagship store
Huawei’s first global flagship store opened its doors in Shenzhen on September 28. (Picture: Huawei)

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Tencent, Baidu join Amazon's voice assistant network
Tencent, Baidu join Amazon's voice assistant network
You might eventually be able to use your Amazon Echo to send messages on WeChat. (Picture: Elaine Thompson/AP Photo)

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Apple fixes squid, mosquito and abacus emoji in iOS 13
Apple fixes squid, mosquito and abacus emoji in iOS 13
Apple's old abacus emoji had a a 2x4 bead arrangement that was historically inaccurate. Apple also reoriented it to reflect how it would have been used with the beads on top and bottom. (Picture: Emojipedia)
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China will soon have new regulations on facial recognition payments
China will soon have new regulations on facial recognition payments
A Zhengzhou citizen paying on an Alipay face-scanning device at a drugstore in May 2018. (Picture: Xinhua)

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Vivo promises a $280 5G phone next year
Vivo promises a $280 5G phone next year
Vivo's new flagship, the Nex 3, has attracted attention with its 64-megapixel pop-up camera and a premium model that comes with 5G. (Picture: Ben Sin/SCMP)

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