Amid layoffs, Snap reportedly threatening employees over leaks

Snapchat’s parent company is said to be trying to scare its employees away from leaking sensitive information.

The secretive company — which laid off a couple dozen employees this week — even warned employees they could go to jail, according to a leaked internal memo.

“If you leak Snap Inc. information, you will lose your job and we will pursue any and all legal remedies against you,” Michael O’Sullivan, general counsel for Snapchat’s parent company Snap, said in the memo obtained by financial news network Cheddar.

“And that’s just the start,” he continued. “You can face personal financial liability even if you yourself did not benefit from the leaked information. The government, our investors, and other third parties can also seek their own remedies against you for what you disclosed. The government can even put you in jail.”

Get tech news in your inbox weekday mornings. Sign up for the free Good Morning Silicon Valley newsletter.

A Snap spokeswoman had no comment about the memo Friday.

The memo appears to have been written and sent a day before the Daily Beast published a story last week that contained confidential daily-active user numbers for every part of the Snapchat app.

“Given some of the numbers, it’s no wonder Snapchat is reinventing itself,” the Daily Beast reported. For example, it noted that a fairly new major feature called Snap Maps appears not to have gained much traction; said a much-touted news feature called Discover has low engagement numbers, potentially affecting partnerships with media organizations and therefore revenue; and mentioned a yet-to-be-released feature called Stories Everywhere.

Snap is hardly the only tech company known for its secrecy, but it sure has had its share of the spotlight for being tight-lipped. Early last year, Snap was sued by a former employee who said the company inflated its numbers ahead of its IPO. This week, that former employee, Anthony Pompliano, told Mashable that Snap continues to try to silence him by “pushing the case into arbitration.”

Snap has called Pompliano, who is also a former Facebook employee, “disgruntled.”

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel is so “paranoid,” according to the Daily Beast report, that employees are threatened with termination if they talk about their work to friends and family. Some employees have no idea what’s going on in other departments, and no access to the version of Snapchat that’s being tested with new features.

In addition, the company blocks access to Snapchat at its own parties and events, the Daily Beast reported. At its reportedly $4 million New Year’s Eve party, employees and guests were said to have their phone cameras taped over.

News of the leaked memo comes as the Venice, California-based company confirmed its latest round of layoffs this week: 24 people across all its departments amid a reorganization and a consolidation of its editorial team in Los Angeles.

In its most recent SEC filing in November 2017, Snap noted that its workforce as of December 2016 totaled 1,859. News reports in 2017 placed the company’s total workforce as high as 2,600.


Photo by Getty Images


Tags: , , , ,


Share this Post