The alleged remarks were part of a lawsuit by a former employee of Snapchat, who worked at the company for three weeks before being fired. In the lawsuit, the employee claims after he raised concerns Snapchat wasn’t being widely used in India and Spain, CEO Evan Spiegel said the app was “only for rich people.”
“I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain,” Spiegel allegedly said.
Snapchat has approximately 4 million users in India and has denied the allegations, describing them as “ridiculous.”
“Those words were written by a disgruntled former employee,” the company said in a statement. “We are grateful for our Snapchat community in India and around the world.”
Indian Snapchat users took to Twitter to express their outrage, and #boycottSnapchat and #uninstallSnapchat were trending over the weekend. Disgruntled users also appear to have flooded the app with one star reviews.
Larger social media companies have had a tough time cracking the Indian market, and Snapchat – whether its CEO made the remarks or not – will rue this incident as a major setback. Facebook is constantly striving to increase its Indian audience, and previously introduced a free internet access program to boost those efforts, only for the Indian government to ban the service over concerns the mission was to secure more customers rather than help connect the country.