Snapchat Threatens Leakers With Jail, Next Day Media Publishes Secret Data

© AFP 2022 / Lionel BonaventureThe logo of mobile app "Snapchat" is displayed on a tablet on January 2, 2014 in Paris.
The logo of mobile app Snapchat is displayed on a tablet on January 2, 2014 in Paris. - Sputnik International
Snap company, the creator of Snapchat messaging app, has issued a memo to employees threatening those responsible for leaks with jail time. The day after the memo was issued, the mass media published Snapchat confidential data in bulk.

More than 20 Snapchat employees have been fired after large amounts of internal Snapchat data were leaked to the public. The ‘ouch' moment here is that the leak happened the next day the company issued a memo warning the employees to stay away from the confidential data.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy for those who leak Snap Inc. confidential information," the company general counsel Michael O'Sullivan said in the memo, obtained by the Cheddar news website. "This applies to outright leaks and any informal ‘off the record' conversations with reporters as well as any confidential information you let slip to people who are not authorized to know that information."

What started in an official tone quickly escalated to a threatening one:

"If you leak Snap Inc. information, you will lose your job and we will pursue any and all legal remedies against you," O'Sullivan wrote. "And that's just the start. You can face personal financial liability even if you yourself did not benefit from the leaked information. The government, our investors, and other third parties can also seek their own remedies against you for what you disclosed. The government can even put you in jail."

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Guess what: the next day, The Daily Beast published an essay entitled "This is the Data Snapchat Doesn't Want You to See." The lengthy essay tells a detailed story about how the company works, how the service works and how the app calculates its user metric, among other secrets. According to the website, the data came from several former and current employees. The essay particularly underscores that the company is seemingly obsessed with secrecy and strict information control.

We'll bet those executives were pretty angry about that.

As one might expect, the leak was met with a firing spree, but here's the twist: the information about said firing spree was *also* leaked one day before the official statement. Again, Cheddar website reported on January 18 that 20 Snapchat employees were fired before the company made the official announcement on January 19.

It almost appears as if someone is literally trolling the company.

There is no confirmed direct connection between the staff cuts and the leaks, though, as the company officials refused to provide comments on the recent cuts. According to Cheddar, though, Snapchat has been firing employees in batches of two dozen at a time since September. Cheddar point out that the company seeks to deal with stagnant user growth and cites the memo from Snap CEO Evan Spiegel that details the importance of building a "scalable" business.

"Having a scalable business model isn't enough," Spiegel said in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Cheddar. "We also need to have an organization that scales internally. This means that we must become exponentially more productive as we add additional resources and team members."

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