Facebook buys live face-swapping app to build mindshare, create nightmares


Facebook acquired a video animation filter app. Put another way, it bought an app that lets you swap faces.

Video selfie firm MSQRD (pronounced Masquerade) announced in a blog post that it's now part of the Facebook family, and the social network confirmed the purchase to techradar.

"Masquerade has built a fantastic app, MSQRD, with world-class imaging technology for video," a Facebook spokesperson said. "We're excited to welcome Masquerade to our team and continue enhancing the Facebook video experience."

The MSQRD iOS and Android apps actually let you do more than just switch mugs with a friend or family member. You can stick on giant doll eyes, pose with a gorilla face or go for a Rastafarian look. It has a number of other filters and masks for spicing up video messages - or creating nightmares.

And that's where Facebook sees its new purchase contributing (the video part, not the nightmares). The company said MSQRD will help enhance its creative tools, particularly around video.

It's no secret video has exploded on Facebook - 100 million hours of it are watched on the platform every day - but there's more that can be done when it comes to video messaging and giving users fun, creative means of expression.

With the rise of Snapchat and its filters, we wouldn't be surprised if Facebook applies MSQRD's magic to Messenger. We don't doubt Facebook wants a filter as popular as rainbow sick of its own.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.