Facebook Acquired Popular Face-Swapping App MSQRD by Masquerade

By Staff Writer

Mar 10, 2016 11:29 PM EST

Facebook announced its latest acquisition, the popular face-swapping app MSQRD owned by the company Masquerade. The terms and details of the acquisition deal are not disclosed by both the companies.

MSQRD is one of the most popular apps in the App Store, with an average rating of 5 stars. The app provides playful and funny animated filters to apply directly on selfies. The Masquerade's app has a wide range of filters and effects, such as Iron Man helmet worn by Mark Zuckerberg in Facebook's announcement of the new acquisition. Users can also play with their selfies to enhance and alter their appearances using cartoon filters, celebrity masks, stickers, doodles, text, and other effects.

In a blog post, Masquerade's CEO Eugene Nevgen expressed the company's excitement in joining forces with the social media giant Facebook. "Within Facebook, we're going to be able to reach people at a scale like never before. For starters, we'll be able to bring our technology to Facebook's audience of nearly 1.6 billion people. This is a scale of audience we never imagined was possible," Nevgen wrote.

Face-altering apps like MSQRD gained popularity around last year when instant messaging app Snapchat added live filters called lenses, as reported by BBC. The face-swap filter, which has become a favorite, was not something the social media Facebook has in its service before. In 2013, Facebook offered to take over Snapchat for $3 billion, but the instant messaging app rejected the offer.

Ever since MSQRD was founded last year, the Belarus-based company was often considered as a rival to Snapchat. And now, with the Masquerade's app within the social media company, Facebook can integrate the face-swap filters directly to the social media. "Masquerade has great technology to help us bring even more creative tools to Facebook, and help extend this work to video," Facebook said in a statement.

Even though is likely that MSQRD's filters and effects will be adopted and used as Facebook's built-in filters, the app will also stay running independently. Users can choose to use the service from Facebook or directly from the MSQRD app. According to Tech Insider, the app's founders, including the CEO Eugene Nevgen, Sergey Gonchar, and Eugene Zatepyakin, will work from Facebook's London office.

Facebook's Masquerade acquisition will bring new innovations and changes for the social media giant. Face-swapping apps have been widely popular since last year as more similar apps emerged and more filters and effects are created. MSQRD will still be operating as a standalone app while its filters will most likely be incorporated in Facebook. 

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