Right now Snapchat, the popular messaging app that makes users’ photos and videos disappear, might be wishing it could make something else disappear—all the bad publicity that’s been swirling around it since the start of the new year.
First there was the infamous New Year’s Eve security breach, with 4.6 million leaked phone numbers but not a single apology. Then there was J.J. Colao’s Forbes feature alleging that in November 2012 Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel wrote an arrogant email blowing off none other than the Mark Zuckerberg, who a year later would offer Snapchat a $3 billion buyout and get blown off again. Hours after Forbes released its story on Jan. 6, Spiegel wanted to set the record straight, tweeting a screenshot of his email exchange with Zuckerberg that told a different story—but not without offending some who thought it was rude to broadcast private correspondence.
In the background of all of this, let’s not forget the ongoing lawsuit between Spiegel, co-founder Bobby Murphy, and ousted co-founder Reggie Brown, who is seeking a third of the company. Plus there’s the widespread speculation Snapchat’s combination of all ego and no revenue is a recipe for disaster, setting the disappearing message app up for a disappearing act of its own—to vanish right out of existence and into the archives of has-been tech sensations.
Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick appeared on Bloomberg West Tuesday to talk with host Emily Chang about the Snapchat saga. “I’m not saying the Snapchat guys are jerks,” said Kirkpatrick, a contributing editor at Bloomberg. “I just think that they certainly are awfully confident considering the scale of their achievement.” He added that while Snapchat is reported to have 30 to 40 million active users, messaging app Whatsapp has 10 times as many.
So what does Zuckerberg have to say about the Snapchat-Facebook fiasco? He hasn’t made any statements, but not a whole lot, surmises Kirkpatrick. “This is the kind of thing Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t think about very hard, to be honest,” Kirkpatrick said. “He’s got a very big business to run and he doesn’t really waste a lot of time looking back.”