Social media giant Facebook (FB) is taking another page from Snap in its latest acquisition of a facial recognition technology company.
Facebook on Wednesday agreed to acquire startup FacioMetrics for an undisclosed amount. The deal is expected to help Facebook beef up its augmented reality features in videos and live broadcasts, allowing users to enhance videos with filters and effects similar to those used in Snap's Snapchat app.
"How people share and communicate is changing, and things like masks and other effects allow people to express themselves in fun and creative ways," a Facebook representative said in a statement. "We're excited to welcome the FacioMetrics team, who will help bring more fun effects to photos and videos and build even more engaging sharing experiences on Facebook."
FB shares were up 0.5% to $116.89 in early afternoon trading Thursday. Action Alerts PLUS, which Jim Cramer and TheStreet Chief Investment Strategist Jack Mohr co-manage as a charitable trust, has a $160-per-share price target for the stock.
While Cramer and Mohr had no immediate reaction to the FacioMetrics deal, they wrote in a recent note to AAP subscribers that Facebook "has always taken the long view with its strategy and has executed on any major initiative." (Click here for a free 14-day AAP trial to read more.)
FacioMetrics spun off from Carnegie Mellon University in 2015 in response to the growing demand for developing computer vision and machine learning algorithms for facial image analysis, FacioMetrics CEO Fernando De la Torre said in a statement on the Pittsburgh company's website.
Snap, which filed confidentially this week for an initial public offering, has been under siege from Facebook for a while, but the release of Instagram Stories was widely seen as Facebook's most obvious jab at the video sharing service. Facebook's Instagram Stories packs many similar features to Snapchat's Stories, allowing users to share photos and video with filters, text and other add-ons.
Additionally, Facebook recently began testing Messenger Day in Poland, a feature that causes messages to disappear in 24 hours, similar to Snapchat's messenger platform, according to Fortune.
Facebook continues to snap up augmented reality technology companies as it boosts investments in the space. The company recently set aside another $250 million for developing virtual reality content.
In May, Facebook bought Scottish virtual-reality audio startup Two Big Ears to enhance the audio capabilities of its Oculus virtual reality technology, and in March the company acquired Masquerade Technologies, which developed another Snapchat-like app. Two years earlier, Facebook purchased headset developer Oculus VR for about $2 billion, marking its first foray into the virtual reality market.
Additionally, Facebook in 2012 purchased Israeli facial recognition startup Face.com for an undisclosed amount. Face.com's technology is largely used to supplement Facebook's tagged photo option by recognizing a user's face automatically.
FacioMetrics representatives did not immediately return requests for comment.