Snapchat Threatens Jail Time For Leakers After Publication Of Internal User Metrics

Snapchat isn’t having any of it, when it comes to employees leaking confidential data. The parent company of the popular app, Snap Inc., has laid down the law with a new company-wide memo that tells employees that it could seek jail time against them and that they could be personally financially liable if they leak company information to the public. This comes in the wake of some leaked Snapchat user metrics that the company didn’t want the public to see.


Snapchat takes its security very seriously, with employees in some positions not even allowed to talk about what they are working on among other employees. Employees in the company are left in the dark about new features that are being worked on, and at least one worker says they find out about new features via the news rather than Snap Inc.

A former employee of Snap Inc said, "Evan (Spiegel, Snap's CEO) is paranoid and they go ballistic when there’s a leak."

Reports indicate that Jason Halbert, Snapchat HR chief has free rein to investigate potential leakers inside the company. Snapchat is also very secretive about internal operations and numbers rarely reveal any detail. What we do know directly from Snapchat is that it has 178 million daily active users in Q3 2017.

The latest data leaked that has Snapchat threatening jail time against employees is five months of confidential DAU (daily active user) metrics that span late April to late September 2017. The data also sheds light on time spent within the apps, Maps, and more. The data shows that Snapchat is much more of a chat app than a social network. Key features that Snapchat talks up, like Snap Maps, haven't gained wide adoption among users.

Snap Maps DAU numbers have been weak and declined significantly post launch, despite the massive marketing push behind it. As of September, only 19 million users check Snap Maps daily, that is 11% of the total daily user base. Word is that Snapchat is working on another new feature called "Stories Everywhere" that could help broaden the reach for Snapchat geographic and location-based stories. Reports indicate that the company is working on a new version of the app, which will be the first large-scale redesign ever undertaken. Word is that releases is imminent.

"If DAUs go down or stay flat, the stock could go under $10," one former employee said. "I feel like if that happens most people at the company will just quit. I know several friends already looking to get out."

Data shows that users are more commonly sending personal snaps to friends with the app rather than posting Stories. In August, the data showed that users were 64% more likely to send a snap to friends that to post to Stories and that users send an average of 34 chat messages per day.

One aspect of the Snapchat app that the company defends details on vigorously is the daily "Editions" for the Discover portion of the app, sort of mini magazines. Snapchat has refused to give broad overall DAU numbers for the Discover portion, despite that these publishers have put hundreds of thousands of dollars into their Editions. The data that was leaked shows that only an average of 20% of the daily users Snapchat is so proud of actually consume content form a Discover Edition daily.