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Snapchat rubbishes ex-employee’s claim that CEO dismissed India as ‘poor’

Short clips-based social media platform Snapchat has not caught up in developing countries like India where people are already hooked to Facebook and its group of products such as Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

tech Updated: Apr 17, 2017 09:26 IST
Anirban Ghoshal
Anirban Ghoshal
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Snapchat,Evan Spiegal,Instagram
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegal said that he was not interested in expanding business in ‘poor countries in India’ in 2015, a former employee alleges.(AP Photo)

“This is ridiculous. Obviously Snapchat is for everyone! It’s available worldwide to download for free.”

This was the response from -- the parent company of short video-clips-based social media platform -- after a Variety Magazine report quoted an ex-employee alleging that CEO Evan Spigel had said the company was not interested in expanding the business in ‘poor countries like India’ as recently as 2015.

Anthony Pompliano, who was fired by Snapchat, claimed Spiegel told him this during a meeting in 2015.

“This app is only for rich people,” Spiegel said, according to Pompliano. “I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.”

“Snap did not give investors misstated user metrics back in 2015; nor did Snap employees commit any of the panoply of alleged bad acts that litter Pompliano’s complaint. Snap will demonstrate as much at the appropriate time in the appropriate forum,” Snapchat wrote in its notice filed with the court.

Pompliano, a former Facebook employee, said he was in a meeting with the CEO to discuss overseas growth of the app. He claimed he was abruptly cut off by Spiegel as he tried to propose new ideas to drive growth from developing countries.

The allegations are contained in Pompliano’s lawsuit, filed in redacted form in LA Superior Court in January. On Monday, Snap Inc. — the parent company of Snapchat — dropped its efforts to keep the un-redacted complaint under seal and released it in a public filing.

Snapchat unredacted lawsuit by gmaddaus on Scribd

Pompliano’s suit tells a story of his brief, three-week tenure at Snapchat, during which he says he learned that the company had inflated its user data and that top executives were “completely misinformed” about key metrics.

Snap had filed a counter complaint and described the employee as “disgruntled”, only to later drop the complaint. Pompliano has accused Snap of data analytics inefficiency.

Pompliano also alleged that Snap executives spoke ill of him to other prospective employers, making it difficult for him to find work. He has also claimed that Snap sought to violate his confidentiality agreement with Facebook by improperly asking him for a detailed Facebook org chart, a request he says he refused.

Snap has filed a motion seeking to force the case into arbitration.

First Published: Apr 15, 2017 19:19 IST