Snapchat ex-employee accuses company of faking growth numbers

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Disposable-messaging app Snapchat has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last few years, but a former employee claims Snap Inc. has been lying about its growth figures in order to attract investors.

In a wrongful termination lawsuit recently filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Snapchat ex-employee Anthony Pompliano claims that the company intentionally lied about some of its growth metrics in its quest for an initial public offering of stock. He also claims that Snapchat fired him after only three weeks of employment when he would not play along.

“Snapchat will not let anything stand in the way of an IPO, including its obligations to represent material facts accurately,” the court filing states (via The Hollywood Reporter). “Mr. Pompliano’s refusal to participate in Snapchat’s institutional pandemic of misrepresenting [REDACTED] to its investors and trading partners led to his unlawful termination by Defendant Snapchat.”

Unfortunately, a significant amount of information in the court document is blacked out, particularly information relating to the specific metrics that Snapchat allegedly faked. However, Pompliano said that he had been hired to run Snapchat’s new user growth and engagement team, and since a social network’s value is built on its users, it seems likely that the blacked out information refers to metrics relating to the size of Snapchat’s user base.

In his filing, Pompliano also claimed that Snapchat hired him away from Facebook “not to build a growth team, but for the nefarious purpose of obtaining Facebook’s confidential and proprietary information.” If true, Pompliano’s claims paint a disturbing picture of Snapchat’s leadership.

Snap, however, has denied his allegations and accused Pompliano of lashing out over his termination. “We’ve reviewed the complaint. It has no merit,” Mary Ritti, vice president of communications at Snapchat, said in an email. “It is totally made up by a disgruntled former employee.”

Snap filed the paperwork for its IPO in November. Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters at the time that the company could go public by as early as March on a valuation of over $20 billion.

Photo: Snapchat via photopin (license)