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Facebook Couldn't Buy Snapchat, So It Bought Silly Selfie Filters Like Snapchat's Instead

Masquerade will continue to operate as a standalone app.


Facebook struck out three years ago with its $3 billion acquisition offer for Snapchat. Its quest to replicate what Snapchat does, though, is still going strong.

Facebook has acquired Masquerade, a photo and video filter app that lets users distort their selfies by mashing them together with celebrity faces or letting them swap faces with friends.

It’s essentially the same idea that Snapchat has already implemented with its own set of photo filters, including a face-swap option. Snapchat users love the app’s wacky photo filters so much that the company even sold them to users for a short time.

We don’t know much about Facebook’s plan for the Masquerade acquisition. Will it end up inside Messenger or Instagram or its photo app Moments? Maybe. For now, the app will continue to operate as a standalone product, and Facebook is bringing over “key members” of the team to work in its London office, according to a company spokesperson.

What we do know is that Facebook has clearly been paying attention to Snapchat. This isn’t the first time Facebook has made a direct attack on the company. Twice now it has tried to replicate Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging feature without any luck — two separate standalone apps aimed at Snapchat, Poke and Slingshot, were both busts.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on deal terms.

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