A selfie taken using the MSQRD app.
Photograph by Daniel Bentley/Fortune

Facebook has acquired the startup behind the popular app MSQRD.

By Kia Kokalitcheva
March 9, 2016

Why take plain old video selfies when you can slap some silly filters and other overlays on top?

Facebook FB seems to think the latter is more fun and has a acquired Masquerade, a young startup that has developed facial recognition and 3D effects rendering technology for video. Masquerade’s technology has been available as a software toolkit for other developers to use and integrate into their own apps, a desktop editor for creating and editing filters, and an iOS and Android app for decorating videos with silly filters, like celebrities and cartoons, called MSQRD.

Masquerade’s technology will be integrated into Facebook as part of its efforts to provide users with more editing tools and features for photos and videos, according to Facebook. The MSQRD app will also continue to be available as a standalone.

“Masquerade has built a fantastic app, MSQRD, with world-class imaging technology for video. We’re excited to welcome Masquerade to our team and continue enhancing the Facebook video experience,” a Facebook spokesperson told Fortune.
Mark Zuckerberg posted a video on Facebook of him welcoming the new team aboard while wearing a virtual reality helmet on his head.
Integrating Masquerade’s technology and features into its app would put Facebook squarely in competition with ephemeral messaging app Snapchat’s own filters and overlays. Last year, Snapchat introduced “lenses,” animated overlays for selfies made possible through the acquisition of Looksery, a startup that had developed facial modification technology.
Masquerade’s core employees will join Facebook’s London office, the company said.

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