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Facebook will shut down its MSQRD selfie app

The app’s AR tech now lives inside Facebook and Instagram.
Karissa Bell, @karissabe
March 13, 2020
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MSQRD, the Snapchat-like selfie app Facebook acquired in 2016, will soon be no more. The social network said it plans to shut down the augmented reality app on April 13, though its technology will live on in other Facebook-owned services.

"MSQRD was fundamental to building early momentum for AR and providing insights to build the platform Facebook has today," the app wrote in an update on its Facebook page. "Our focus is now on delivering you the best-possible AR experiences through Spark AR, the platform that allows anyone to create their own AR effects and share them across the Facebook family."

Facebook began integrating MSQRD's face-swapping tech and other filters into its own products, like Facebook Live, soon after it acquired the app in 2016. Since then, the MSQRD team has been focused on building out Facebook's AR platform, Spark AR, which allows users to create effects for Instagram.

But now that Facebook's most popular AR effects live within Instagram and other camera-focused apps, MSQRD — which hasn't been updated since 2016 — feels more like an afterthought than the novelty it once was. And strategically, it makes much more sense for the company to put its resources into the platform-wide Spark AR, rather than a standalone service that's steadily declined in popularity.

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