Last week, Snapchat found itself in a full-blown PR crisis after CEO Evan Spiegel was accused of saying that the app was “only for rich people” and that he didn’t “want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.”
On Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg joined the fray with a thinly veiled jab at Spiegel.
Zuckerberg bragged about Facebook’s commitment to serve all types of users, rich and poor, in an interview with TechCrunch’s Josh Constine.
“I think one thing that people probably don’t think about as much as we do is innovation to serve everyone in the community not just the high end, right?” (Emphasis ours.)
It’s subtle, but Zuckerberg is very likely alluding to Snapchat’s reputation as an app for the affluent, especially in the wake of the India scandal.
While Zuckerberg acknowledges that some of Facebook’s camera features do look a lot like Snapchat’s, his company is investing heavily in apps like the 200 million user-strong Facebook Lite, which makes the service more accessible to people in emerging markets with slow internet connections. Plus, Facebook is working on ways to connect the whole world to the internet with drones and other sci-fi technology.
In general, though, Zuckerberg tells TechCrunch that he’s “not that worried” about looking like a laggard behind Snapchat, and that “I feel like we do different kinds of work in different areas.”
Still, tell that to supermodel Miranda Kerr, who’s engaged to Spiegel, and who recently said that she’s “appalled” by Facebook’s continued adoption of features made famous by Snapchat.
Spiegel’s alleged comments about India, which Snap has called “ridiculous,” came from a recently unredacted court complaint by Anthony Pompliano, who served as the company’s growth lead for a few weeks in 2015 before being fired. In the complaint, Pompliano describes an exchange he alleges he had with Spiegel during a September 2015 meeting about the app’s international growth plans.
Snap points out that its Snapchat app is a free download, available to everybody.