Looking At The Dark Underbelly Of Snap; Toxic Work Environments, Discrimination, and Layoffs

Published on March 7, 2019

Google may be under the impression that men are actually making less than women, but Snap is evening the playing field. Snap, Inc. (NYSE: SNAP), is a Santa Monica based app company known for highly popular social media apps like Snapchat. The company has reportedly paid off at least three women who claim to have been unfairly laid off from high positions. The women alleged that a round of layoffs disproportionately targeted women last year.

Work Environments

Snap, Inc. is no newbie to criticism of its work environments. The new-age tech company pioneered social media photo sharing and messaging when it released Snapchat back in 2011. In just about a year, the app was the hottest new social media platform among younger demographics. It’s growth was massive, and paved the way for story-platforms on other apps. When Instagram and Facebook followed suit, though, Snap lost a lot of momentum and had to quickly rethink its strategy. Rounds of layoffs began to hit its headquarters in Santa Monica, California, and its employees began to speak out against the toxic inner workings of the company.

A massive internal email sent in 2017 by a former Snap employee, Shannon Lubitech, called the company “sexist.” Lubitech sent the email just before leaving the Snap office in San Francisco for the last time. The email criticized the company for its lack of diversity. “It is my deepest hope that this company can be a place that is kind, smart, and creative. I’m just done fighting for it when very few other people seem to care,” Lubitech wrote in her email, which reached over 1,300 colleagues within Snap. The company credits the email as the catalyst in a major rethinking of how it handles issues of diversity.

Current Problems

When a wave of layoff’s hit Snap’s upper-level employees last year, the company didn’t expect for it to haunt its reputation well into 2019. Reports from inside the company say that at least three women that were laid off last year have been given comprehensive severance packages after complaining that the layoffs were discriminatory against women. Of the layoff’s, six women from the company’s growth and design team lost their positions at the company. More emails were sent throughout the company expressing concerns as to why so many women were laid off. Then, the women allegedly received additional severance packages. A representative from Snap told CNBC that men also received additional severance and denied the claims.

Snap, Inc. has been struggling off and on for a couple of years now, both publicly and privately. The company was forced to revamp its front end after other social media apps began offering story features. With each update, it seems that Snap digs itself further into its own grave. Users have called the changes confusing, speaking against the app—or, in some cases, abandoning it entirely—with almost every update. Snapchat has been focusing on its news features in recent years. The company clearly sees an opportunity to become a credible, stable news outlet for youth. It could work, considering most of its users are generally younger.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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