Snapchat maker Snap denied allegations that its Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel said the popular social media app is "only for rich people." In a statement provided to Business Insider, the Venice, Los Angeles-based Internet firm labeled the notion of Spiegel saying such a thing "ridiculous." The accusation was initially made by one Anthony Pompliano, Snap's former chief of user growth and engagement who sued the company for allegedly blackmailing and smearing him earlier this year. While looking for a way to increase Snapchat's user acquisition and retention numbers — something the same lawsuit alleges Snap later falsified in an effort to mislead investors — Pompliano reportedly suggested an international expansion to Spiegel, an idea Snap's CEO allegedly dismissed because he didn't want the service to be available in poorer countries, specifically mentioning India and Spain as examples of markets that he doesn't want Snapchat to enter.
Following the allegations from last week, Snapchat got hit with a massive number of one-star ratings on the Google Play Store from angry users, many of whom decided to uninstall the app to protest Spiegel's alleged quote and took to social media to criticize the affair. A company spokesperson later stated that "Snapchat is for everyone" as the app is available for download from the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store free of charge in all parts of the world, adding that Pompliano's accusations are just baseless assertions authored by "a disgruntled former employee." The latter sentiment was already expressed by Snap in January when Pompliano's lawsuit was originally filed.
Snap's shares fell following the ordeal and are currently being traded for less than $20 at The New York Stock Exchange, though the affair is unlikely to affect the company and its platform in the long term, industry watchers believe. Regardless, many investors remain skeptical about Snap's recent initial public offering (IPO) that saw the company go public in an effort to raise more cash and fuel its hardware-related ambitions, as the company is receiving mixed recommendations from top analysts who seemingly cannot agree on whether investing into Snap is a safe bet or not. An update on the company's operations and the situation detailed above is expected to follow in the coming weeks.