An explosive allegation made by an former employee is causing major headaches for Snapchat. The company is being sued by Anthony Pompliano, who was briefly (like, 3 weeks-briefly) employed with the company in 2015. According to the lawsuit, Pompliano says that he quickly found out that Snapchat was exaggerating user data. He further stated that his attempts to bring this to the attention of executives resulted in his termination.
However, it’s not user metrics that has Snap doing damage control. The lawsuit also makes a claim that is threatening Snapchat’s standing internationally. Pompliano alleges that, in a conversation with CEO Evan Spiegel regarding expansion to foreign markets, Spiegel cut him off, saying, “This app is only for rich people. I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.”
Obviously, Spiegel disputes this claim. Both sides with begin arbitration to resolve this suit but, in the meantime, Snap has to deal with the ire of current and potential users in India who were insulted by what was allegedly said (there are 4 million Snapchat users in India).
The fallout has brought the company a rash of negative reviews on Google Play and the Apple Story, as well as a ton of social media blowback. The hashtags #BoycottSnapchat and #Uninstall Snapchat trended heavily this past weekend.
If this wasn’t enough, a group of Indian hackers claims to have a leaked database of 1.7 million Snapchat users. The group says that it obtained the database last year but, Spiegel’s alleged statements prompted their threat to release it.
All of this could not come at a worse time for Snap. The company just went public at the beginning of March 2017. Furthermore, over the weekend, it was reported that Instagram’s Snapchat clone, called “Stories”, is now more popular than Snapchat itself.