Snapchat has been publicly condemned by singer Rihanna after an offensive ad from in-app game Would You Rather was viewed by users.
The app in question asked users “Would you rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?” in reference to the 2009 incident where the pop artist was physically assaulted by her then-boyfriend. Reaction on social media had been swift.
Is it just me, or is this ad that popped up on my Snapchat extremely tone deaf? Like what were they thinking with this? pic.twitter.com/7kP9RHcgNG
— Royce Mann (@TheRoyceMann) March 12, 2018
Just awful. Awful that anyone thinks this is funny. Awful that anyone thinks this is appropriate. Awful that any company would approve this. Thank you Brittany for calling this out.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) March 12, 2018
Snapchat had apologized in a conversation with the BBC, adding,”The advert was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines. We immediately removed the ad last weekend, once we became aware."
Rihanna took to Snapchat's rival platform Instagram to admonish them via an Instagram story: "Now Snapchat, I know you know you ain't my fav app out there. But I'm just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess. I'd love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain't that dumb." After showing concern to those who've suffered from acts of domestic violence in the past, she added, "Throw the whole app-oligy away."
Rihanna responding to Snapchat's ad. I can't believe they did this. pic.twitter.com/TpHQIXTm4j
— Gennette Cordova (@GNCordova) March 15, 2018
Snapchat has built a recent history of incidents that have alienated its audience. Last month, Kylie Jenner and makeup brand Maybelline had complained about the app’s most recent redesign. Snapchat had responded to a group of over 1.2m users who signed a change.org petition asking for the site to revert to its past iteration, saying "We hear you, and appreciate that you took the time to let us know how you feel."
As Instagram, Facebook, and soon Twitter continue to implement features similar to those that Snapchat brought to market first, the platform has reported stalling of user growth. Last month, the company shedded about 24 of its employees in content, engineering, and partnerships in an attempt to "scale internally."