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Facebook buys face-swapping app MSQRD and its many selfie filters

Facebook buys face-swapping app MSQRD and its many selfie filters

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Expect to see new faces on your Facebook in the future. The social network has purchased popular face-swapping app MSQRD, built by Belarusian startup Masquerade, with the app offering a range of features including live video effects for selfies and the creepy-sounding "celebrity masks." (Facial overlays that make you look like famous person X.) Masquerade announced the news in a blog post, first reported by Tech Insider, with Facebook confirming the acquisition to The Verge.

MSQRD will continue to operate as a standalone app

"Masquerade has built a fantastic app, MSQRD, with world-class imaging technology for video," said a spokesperson for the social network. "We’re excited to welcome Masquerade to our team and continue enhancing the Facebook video experience." In their blog post, Masquerade said it was "excited to join Facebook" and ready to bring its technology to the company's nearly 1.6 billion users. The price of the acquisition was not disclosed, and both companies stated that MSQRD will continue to operate as standalone app for iOS and Android.

Facebook has been building out its image and video tools recently, and the acquisition means that we can probably expect to see MSQRD's features pop up in the company's own products some time in the future. As TechCrunch notes, the move can be seen as a response to Snapchat's acquisition of Looksery (among other things), which allowed the messaging app to offer various new selfie lenses. The MSQRD app can apply effects to videos in realtime, with Masquerade also offering its own software to help designers create their own masks and filters, as well as a store to sell them in.