Facebook has acquired Masquerade, creator of the popular face-swapping app MSQRD

Facebook has just acquired the Belarus-based startup Masquerade – creator of the popular face-swapping app MSQRD – as part of an effort to expand its video services and take on Snapchat.

The MSQRD app allows users to add filters to live video selfie animations.

Facebook reportedly struck a deal with the startup on Wednesday and plans on letting MSQRD remain a standalone and free app.

MSQRD
Facebook acquired MSQRD three years after the Wall Street Journal reported that Snapchat had rejected an offer from the tech giant.

Masquerade says that its “proprietary self-learning face tracking algorithm” and “framework for creating special effects” are its crown jewels. Since 2010, the startup claims that it has “accumulated enormous expertise in solving the problem of face detection and tracking.”

Its algorithms have been “trained on libraries containing millions of people’s faces”.

A Facebook spokeswoman was quoted by CNET as saying that Masquerade has “world-class imaging technology for video,” adding that Facebook will continue to enhance its video experience.

Eugene Nevgen, CEO of Masquerade Technologies, Inc, said on the startup’s website:

“Video communication is exploding. At Masquerade, we’ve worked hard to make video more fun and engaging by creating filters that enhance and alter your appearance.

“Now, we’re excited to join forces with Facebook and bring the technology to even more people.”



He added:

“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.

“While we will be partnering with Facebook to integrate our technology, the app will stay up and running so you’ll continue to record fun selfies and keep using the product. You can also expect us to keep adding fun features!”

A Facebook spokesperson told Tech Insider that the company is ‘excited to welcome Masquerade to our team and continue enhancing the Facebook video experience.’