Indians angry with Snapchat are taking it out on… Snapdeal

Again and again.
Again and again.
Image: Reuters/Adnan Abidi
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Snapdeal just can’t catch a break.

After news of executives fleeing and rumours of an imminent sale to Flipkart, the company is now battling angry Indians online who seem hell-bent on taking out their anger against…Snapchat. Yes, the American messaging app.

Last week, details of a lawsuit by a former Snapchat employee went public, including a claim that CEO Evan Spiegel once said that the app was “only for rich people” and that he was uninterested in expanding to “poor countries like India and Spain.”

Over the weekend, the purported comment went viral, prompting irate Indians to retaliate in different ways. This included leaving one-star reviews on the app store, raging against the company on Twitter, and even calling for a complete boycott, even as Snapchat denied that the comments were ever made.

“Obviously Snapchat is for everyone! It’s available worldwide to download for free,” a company representative told Factor Daily, adding that the comments were from a “disgruntled former employee.”

Nevertheless, on April 16, #BoycottSnapchat was among the top trending topics on Twitter in India.

But unfortunately for the similarly-named Snapdeal, some users targeted the Indian company instead, giving the e-commerce platform’s app one-star reviews and even uninstalling it outright. It wasn’t a situation Snapdeal co-founder Kunal Bahl seemed entirely prepared for.

This is the second time Snapdeal has had to contend with angry Indians online. In late 2015, the company bore the brunt of rising rage against its brand ambassador at the time, Aamir Khan, ironically after the Bollywood actor voiced concerns about rising intolerance in India. At the time, trolls reportedly associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) IT cell eventually forced the company to end its association with Khan.

The latest publicity debacle also comes as Snapdeal’s management has been reportedly named in a criminal complaint by an entrepreneur who has alleged that they stole his idea for a non-inventory-holding marketplace in India. The company’s CEO, COO, and former CFO have all been summoned by the Delhi court.

Meanwhile, Snapchat is facing a growing nightmare in India. On April 17, anonymous hackers claimed that they had released the details of 1.7 million users in revenge for Spiegel’s alleged comments.