Snapchat vs. Rihanna

App Loses Almost $1 Billion After Rihanna Criticism


Snapchat is one of the most popular social media apps among Woodside students.

Taila Lee, Copy Editor

Snapchat lost $800 million after pop star Rihanna called out the app for approving an advertisement that desensitized domestic violence.

The app featured a “Would You Rather?” style game on March 12, where one of the choices was between “slapping Rihanna” or “punching Chris Brown.”

Rihanna, who has over 61.3 followers on Instagram, quickly responded to the ad on her Instagram story: “Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain’t my fav app out there!… You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it!!!!  [For] all the women, children, and men that have been victims of DV in the past and especially the ones who haven’t made it out yet… you let us down! Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away.”

Model Chrissy Teigen, with 10 million Twitter followers, also responded to the controversy.

“I stopped using snap,” Teigen tweeted bluntly.  “The update, the constant complaints of people not being able to find me, plus the Rihanna poll… no bueno.”

Even with the recent controversy surrounding the app, Snapchat remains a major part of teenagers’ lives— especially at Woodside High School.  Whether it’s lunch, after school, or even during class, it’s no secret that most Woodside students use the social media app constantly and have their own opinions about the drama.

“I don’t like it when Snapchat puts down celebrities,” stated sophomore Jillian Couch, a daily user of Snapchat.  “I think it’s really disrespectful and rude… Snapchat shouldn’t advertise physical abuse.”

Sophomore Noel Salmeron uses Snapchat several times a day in order to communicate with others for conversation and school work.

“It was fair for Rihanna to call out Snapchat as it affected her personally,” Salmeron noted. “Snapchat, for the most part, deserved the $800 million loss… it could help them learn from their mistakes and work towards a solution.”

Salmeron also alluded to Rihanna’s and Chris Brown’s abusive relationship in 2009.

“A lot of people seem to love drama… so it’s probably why the company who put out the ad even included the Rihanna-Chris Brown situation,” Salmeron elaborated.

Before the disputed ad, Snapchat launched an equally controversial update in early February that combined the Chat and Stories parts of the app.

It’s my only way to communicate with people in other countries and with people who live hours away.”

— Jillian Couch

In response to the update, reality television star and model Kylie Jenner tweeted, “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?  Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad” to her 25.2 million Twitter followers.

Snapchat lost about $1.3 billion in market value after Jenner’s tweet, which received more than 377,000 likes and 76,000 retweets.

“[Snapchat’s popularity] definitely decreased because of the last update,” senior Max Addis remarked. “I stopped using Snapchat because of it.”

Although Salmeron tried to adjust to the changes, he still disliked the redesign.

I actually like it when the design of an app is changed just because it makes it feel new,” Salmeron commented.  “What I don’t like about the update is how the Discover page story posters are really big and how my subscriptions aren’t at the top. I also don’t like how there aren’t different tabs in the Friends page for separating stories and chat.”

The app’s update was wildly unpopular among most users, leading to over 1.2 million people signing a petition requesting that Snapchat revert to their original formatting.

“The update was really confusing,” Couch agreed.  “Everything was just really small, so you couldn’t really tell if someone sent you a snap or not.”

Despite her disapproval of both the ad and the update, Couch will continue to use Snapchat.

“It’s my only way to communicate with people in other countries and with people who live hours away,” Couch reflected.

Like Couch, Salmeron relies on Snapchat as a main form of communication and will keep using the app.

“Mistakes like these do happen,” Salmeron explained, “as there are large amounts of companies trying to advertise on the platform, [which] makes it difficult to monitor every single ad. Snapchat just need to be more wary of what they’re putting out there and make sure it’s appropriate.”

After removing the ad, Snapchat released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

“This advertisement is disgusting and never should have appeared on our service,” read the statement.  “We are so sorry we made the terrible mistake of allowing it through our review process. We are investigating how that happened so that we can make sure it never happens again.”