March 9, 2016 / 9:48 PM / a year ago

Facebook snaps up face-swapping app creator Masquerade

A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen in front of the logo of the European Union in this picture illustration made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 15, 2015.Dado Ruvic/Files

REUTERS - Facebook Inc is acquiring Masquerade Technologies Inc, creator of the popular face-swapping app MSQRD, as part of efforts by the world's largest social network operator to build its video services.

Wednesday's deal comes nearly three years after the Wall Street Journal reported that photo and video messaging app Snapchat had rejected an offer from Facebook.

Masquerade, which announced the deal on its website, did not disclose financial details.

The deal is more a piece of Facebook's bigger effort to innovate into video, Monness, Crespi, Hardt, & Co Inc analyst James Cakmak said.

It is unlikely that Facebook would use Masquerade to significantly draw away Snapchat users, he said.

While Snapchat has features such as bulging eyes, Masquerade allows users to add special effects including animal masks and snow to their photos and video.

Masquerade, backed by Yuri Gurski and Gagarin Capital, said founders Eugene Nevgen, Sergey Gonchar and Eugene Zatepyakin will join Facebook.

The app will continue as a standalone product, Masquerade said.

Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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