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Leonardo DiCaprio Helped Make This Belarusian App Go Viral

  • MSQRD app blends facial features with those of a celebrity
  • Belarus startup rushed to build app as SnapChat bought rival

While Leonardo DiCaprio was polishing his acceptance speech last week, a trio of programmers from the former Soviet Union were busy capitalizing on his fame in the run-up to the 88th Academy Awards.

Minsk-based Masquerade Technologies Inc.’s app lets users superimpose celebrity faces over their own in selfie videos. The result is a blend of facial features, not quite DiCaprio and not quite you, but curiously recognizable as both. The app reached the top 5 by popularity in the U.S. iTunes App Store last week ahead of the Oscars, where the 41-year-old Hollywood star won the best actor prize for his performance as a vengeance-seeking fur trader in “The Revenant’’.