A former Snapchat employee has accused the selfie-slinging giant of illegally inflating its user numbers and misleading investors.
Anthony Pompliano, a former Growth Lead, says that the photo and video streamer is providing false metrics to its advertisers and investors as parent company Snap Inc prepares its initial public offering.
In a heavily redacted complaint filed to the Los Angeles Superior Court this week, Pompliano says that he was fired just three weeks into his job because he spoke out about the fudged numbers.
Snap did not respond to a request for comment on the case.
Pompliano said that he had been heavily recruited to Snapchat from rival Facebook in order to help the company grow its user base. Upon arriving, however, Pompliano said he immediately realized the numbers had been inflated.
While the exact figures have been redacted, he says that the false numbers include growth metrics and have been used by the company to bring in investors and sell to advertisers. Snap Inc is widely believed to be gearing up for an IPO later this year.
Pompliano claims that after alerting executives to the practice, he was fired in retaliation and was then made the target of a "smear campaign" to ruin his reputation and undermine his claims about the falsified numbers.
"Snapchat leadership saw Mr Pompliano as an impediment to their planned IPO because he refused to turn a blind eye to Snapchat's misrepresentations," the suit alleges.
"Indeed, Snapchat accurately perceived that Mr Pompliano would blow the whistle should Snapchat continue to misrepresent its [numbers] to the public, advertisers, prospective employees, private investors, or in connection with its planned IPO."
He says that since being fired, he has also lost out on other positions due to Snapchat's assertment that he was terminated for being incompetent.
The suit accuses Snap Inc of violating California labor law on Misrepresentation Preventing a Former Employee from Obtaining Employment. In addition to damages, Pompliano is seeking an injunction barring Snapchat from further claiming he was terminated for incompetence. ®