A comment allegedly made by Snapchat Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel in 2015 has come back to haunt him, after a report in Variety quoted it as part of a lawsuit by a former employee. The suit, filed by one Anthony Pompliano, among other things, claims Spiegel said that he does not want to expand the company into “poor countries like India and Spain” as the app was “only for rich people”.
Snap Inc. in a statement on Sunday said Snapchat was meant for “everyone”. “This is ridiculous...It’s available worldwide to download for free,” Snap Inc. spokesperson told BGR India.
Snapchat’s parent company Snap Inc. had released the suit in a public filing on April 10. The suit by Pompliano, who was sacked in three weeks, claimed that the company had misled investors by lying about the size of its user data and was “completely misinformed” on several metrics. Snap Inc. denied this allegation and claimed that the company’s employees had not committed any kind of “panoply of alleged bad acts that litter Pompliano’s complaint”.
The comment drew swift condemnation on social media and led several Indians to uninstall the app in protest. A day after the controversy began, Snapchat’s ratings on the iOS App store dropped from five stars to one star. The number of one-star ratings increased from 39,102 to 192,906 in 24 hours. However, the app was rated four stars on the Android Play Store as of Sunday based on 11,932,996 ratings.
India’s rapidly expanding mobile penetration has led to major foreign tech companies such as Amazon and Uber stepping up their operations in the country. American video streaming giants Amazon Prime Video and Netflix are believed to have set aside Rs 2,000-crore budgets each to attract the Indian audience. India’s internet market is expected to grow 2.5 times by 2020, Economic Times reported.
Snapchat went public in March.