Did Snapchat CEO say it’s ‘only for rich people’? Backlash from India, elsewhere follows accusation

Snap is denying that CEO Evan Spiegel once said the popular Snapchat app is “only for rich people,” and that he didn’t want to expand to “poor countries like India and Spain.”

Spiegel allegedly made the comments in a 2015 meeting with a former employee who earlier this year filed a lawsuit against the Southern California company, accusing it of misleading investors about its growth prior to its initial public offering. The unredacted lawsuit was made public last week.

#BoycottSnapchat and #UninstallSnapchat trended over the weekend as India and Spain got wind of Speigel’s purported comments. The Snapchat app’s ratings in app stores have fallen, including in the United States, where some reviewers are saying they have stopped using Snapchat because Spiegel insulted their home country.

Also, Indian hackers are reportedly claiming they have leaked the information of more than a million Snapchat users in retaliation.

Snap’s official response, according to several media outlets: “This is ridiculous. Obviously Snapchat is for everyone. It’s available worldwide to download for free.”

Anthony Pompliano, a former Facebook employee, worked at Snap only three weeks. He was fired after he raised concerns about Snapchat’s user metrics and the company’s performance overseas. He filed suit against the company in January, before Snap’s IPO.

Last week, Snap made the lawsuit public, saying it is now a public company and has “nothing to hide.” The company says Pompliano is a publicity-hungry, disgruntled former employee who is accusing Snap of misleading investors to this day.

Snapchat has had its share of bad publicity and drama. It settled with Reggie Brown, who says he was pushed out as co-founder of the company, for a reported $158 million. And years ago, Spiegel’s old emails, sent during his time at Stanford, resurfaced. They didn’t paint a pretty picture, and he tried to dismiss them as musings of a young fraternity bro.

Since then, Spiegel has espoused a “live in the moment” philosophy — as promoted by Snapchat’s ephemeral nature — and has deleted all his tweets.

(HT Variety)

Photo: Snapchat co-founders Bobby Murphy, left, and CEO Evan Spiegel sign a guest book at the New York Stock Exchange as Snap celebrates its IPO on March 2, 2017. Thomas Farley, right, is president of the Exchange. (Mark Lennihan/AP)


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