#UninstallSnapchat is trending big across Indian social media platforms. Why?
Because it is being alleged that in 2015, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said, “This app is only for rich people. I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.”
This has caused mass outrage across India, and Indians have taken to social media to condemn Snapchat and to the Google Play Store to rate Snapchat 1 star. Below is a collection of some of the reviews on Snapchat’s Play Store page:
Clearly, many Indians feel very strongly about being labelled a poor country. The Spaniards meanwhile, don’t seem to have reacted at all, despite also allegedly being named in Spiegel’s statement.
If you’re not very conversant with Hindi, you might not understand some parts of the above reviews. But then you would probably be grateful for reviews like these, which take the trouble of translating the Hindi portions into English:
Now Snapchat has denied that their CEO ever said this. But they really have a much bigger problem at hand. The alleged comment was part of a much bigger accusation. A lawsuit filed by a former Snapchat employee, Anthony Pompliano, has accused Snapchat of ‘number-fudging’. According to Pompliano’s lawsuit, Snapchat claimed it had 100 million users, which was higher than the 97 million counted by Flurry. Also according to the lawsuit, Snapchat was growing much more slowly, in single digits and under 5 per cent, rather than the double digit growth it was claiming. That is a very serious allegation indeed, with several potential legal consequences.
But how much of an impact are these 1-star ratings having on Snapchat? Well, ratings affect an app’s ranking and visibility on the Play Store. But Snapchat is an established brand, and people who download Snapchat don’t just stumble across it on the Play Store, they know from beforehand exactly what they’re looking for. Also very few people would care about the actual ratings of apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.
Another thing is Google’s algorithms are supposed to delete ratings meant to doctor an app’s overall rating. While many developer’s do claim that Google’s algorithms fall woefully short in this regard, we can still expect many of these ratings and reviews to be cleaned up over time. Ratings that have been published before the users have even opened the app, are sureshot removals, for example.
Theoretically the biggest problem however, is that all these efforts have been concentrated on the Android Play Store, while Snapchat’s biggest user base consist of Apple users. They don’t focus as much on Android as they do on iOS. But then again, most Indian users use Android devices, which makes it difficult to have such a concerted effort on the Apple App Store.
So, in effect, Snapchat would probably lose a few Indian users – a niche of the market it never really focussed on or captured anyway.
However, there’s another company caught in the crossfire – the Indian online shopping site, Snapdeal!
Some Indian users just haven’t figured out exactly where to target their hate and have mistakenly gone about decreasing the rating of Snapdeal, instead of Snapchat.
While Snapdeal is also an established brand in India, and such ratings might not cause it terrible harm, opinions like this would definitely hurt it, and possibly other online shopping platforms:
Warrior Princess may not have got the name wrong, but…
Meanwhile, the comedy does not just end here. Some of the more knowledgeable good samaritans have taken to the Play Store to help Snapdeal out with the collateral damage:
It definitely appears as though this latest fiasco would continue for some time to come. However, Evan Spiegel is definitely not the first person to have called India a poor country.