The popular app Snapchat has recently come under fire in the media after news broke out that its CEO Evan Spiegel allegedly stated that the app is, “only for rich people.” In his alleged sentiments, Spiegel also stated that markets like India and Spain were too poor for his app. These allegations all stem from documents released on April 11 regarding a lawsuit filed by former Snapchat employee Anthony Pompliano – who was fired from the company merely three weeks into his tenure. This information then begs several questions: were Spiegel’s statements actually true, or did a disgruntled employee falsify them? Should this case be taken seriously, or is this just another case of media instigation?
As of now, there are no recordings or physical evidence proving that Spiegel actually said these things. Rather, we are just relying on the hearsay of an ex-employee at Snapchat. Therein lies the first problem in Snapchat’s whole PR disaster. Media outlets have propagated this story and pushed the narrative of Snapchat being this racist company that only caters to the rich.
As a (West) Indian, I feel that we Indians should be a little warier about what the news and the media are feeding us. It’s very simple for the media to drive this story that makes Snapchat seem like the antagonist by demonizing an entire race, but the fact of the matter remains that no one really knows for sure whether Spiegel even said these things or not.
The second problem in this Snapchat PR disaster is the drastic reactionary measures that people have taken in order to “#BoycottSnapchat.” Once news of Spiegel’s statements broke out, people began to install the app, rate it one-star and delete the app right after in order to send a message. Admittedly, I may be wrong here, but don’t mobile apps operate on a cost-per-install system that generates revenue for the developer whenever the app is installed?
If so, in essence, you are basically funding the beast that you are fighting. If not, then we must still realize that in sending this message, you are allowing Snapchat all the free publicity that it desires from all over the world. There is a saying that goes, “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” So either way, Snapchat still wins this war.
The point that I’m ultimately trying to make is that there is a fine line that must be teetered when it comes to such drastic allegations. It’s easy for the media to play upon on our naturally defensive instincts and try to elicit an emotional response out of us, but it takes a stronger person to actually sift through all of that and determine the truth.
You may be wondering: what happens if Evan Spiegel actually did say these things? If so, then we all have the right to be upset, but there really isn’t much we could do either way. With or without your support, Snapchat will still continue to thrive, as it is one of the most appealing apps in this digital generation. Though these claims have yet to officially be proven, sometimes it’s just easier to turn a blind eye. After all, it’s only Snapchat.
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