April 17, 2017 / 6:39 PM / 7 months ago

Snap stock falls as alleged CEO comments rile some on social media

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Shares of Snap (SNAP.N) fell 1.5 percent on Monday as the Snapchat owner faced criticism for comments allegedly made by its CEO about not prioritizing growth in India and Spain because they were “poor” countries.

FILE PHOTO - The logo of messaging app Snapchat is seen at a booth at TechFair LA, a technology job fair, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

The dip put Snap on track to close at its lowest level in nearly a month, a bad sign following its $3.4 billion public listing that was the hottest by a technology company in three years.

Twitter users using the #boycottsnapchat hashtag called for uninstalling the Snapchat app after a legal document unsealed last week alleged that Snap Chief Executive Evan Spiegel in 2015 said he was uninterested in prioritizing growth in India and Spain because they were “poor”.

The legal document filed in a Los Angeles state court concerns claims made in a lawsuit filed by an employee who left the company in 2015, and Snap has said it considers the litigation to be a publicity stunt.

“This app is only for rich people. I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain,” Spiegel is alleged to have said.

“Those words were written by a disgruntled former employee. We are grateful for our Snapchat community in India and around the world,” Snap said in a statement.

Snapchat is popular among people under 30 for applying bunny faces and vomiting rainbows onto selfies, but many investors are critical of its slowing user growth. Snap has warned it may never become profitable.

Its stock was down 29 cents at $19.90. Shares of Snap have fallen 26 percent from their highest closing price following the public listing, and they remain up 17 percent from the company’s $17 IPO price.

Reporting by Noel Randewich, additional reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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