Snapchat apologizes after ad asks users if they'd rather 'slap Rihanna' or 'punch Chris Brown'
Snapchat has had a fair amount of bad press recently. A few months back, their redesign caused thousands of users to jump ship. Then, as a knock-on effect of this (along with a few choice words from Kylie Jenner), the company lost $1.3billion in market value. Shortly after, when Jenner used the app to post the first clear pictures of her baby girl, Stormi, the social media app was accused of paying her for the snaps - but they deny this.
Needless to say, then, they really didn't need any more negativity at this time.
So, when they made the decision to host a "Would You Rather" ad giving users the option to "slap Rihanna" or "punch Chris Brown", it really didn't go down well.
The poll seemed to be an obvious nod to the incident that happened in 2009, in which Brown brutally assaulted Rihanna - his girlfriend at the time - and left her face so bruised and swollen that she was virtually unrecognizable. Since then, many people have turned their back on Brown, and the opposition towards him is still so strong that Netflix had to deal with tons of complaints after they aired a documentary about the singer.
Many people took to Twitter to voice their disgust at the advert, with many people asking what its purpose was in the first place.
And, as one person pointed out, Snapchat has a rigorous process for approving commercially-hosted content, meaning that someone (or, more likely, several people) saw this ad and thought it was totally acceptable to put it up for thousands to see.
Others called for direct action to be taken against the company:
"Wow @Snapchat has lost their god damn mind who ever over there at that app company need to be fired for putting this ad up talking about would u rather Slap @rihanna or punch @chrisbrown like the president over there @Snapchat need to reliquary this person who put this out," Tweeted one person.
According to Snapchat's official policy:
"All ads are subject to our review and approval. We reserve the right to reject or remove any ad in our sole discretion for any reason. We also reserve the right to request modifications to any ad, and to require factual substantiation for any claim made in an ad."
On their website, they also have a list of "Prohibited Content", which includes: "Content that demeans, degrades, or shows hate toward a particular race, gender, culture, country, belief, or toward any member of a protected class."
In response to the complaints, Snapchat is claiming that the advert was published by mistake.
"The ad was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines," a spokesperson said. "We immediately removed the ad last weekend, once we became aware. We are sorry that this happened."
Regardless of how it came to be on the worldwide platform, it's clear that Snapchat needs to be a little more careful with what they're putting on the app and how they're treating their users. Otherwise, they might just see their user numbers fall even further.