Rihanna slams Snapchat for offensive ad that makes a joke of domestic violence
It's been a rough year for Snapchat. First they released an update that users called "confusing," then Kylie Jenner tweeted that she barely used the app anymore. Now Rihanna is taking fire because of an ad that makes a joke out of domestic violence, starring Riri herself.
The ad is a poll called "Would you rather," named for the party game that gives players two terrible options and has them choose the least terrible. In this version the Snapchat ad asks, "Would you rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?"
It's been almost a decade since Chris Brown punched, bit and threatened Rihanna, and Snapchat, we've got a little tip for you. It's too soon to make light-hearted jokes about the incident. It will always be too soon. Domestic violence is not a joke.
Rihanna's response on Instagram was (rightfully) harsh, and proving the clout of the Fenty Queen, it caused Snapchat's parent company to lose $800 million in value overnight.
"Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain't my fav app out there! But I'm just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess!" she wrote. "I'd love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain't that dumb! You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to [domestic violence] victims and made a joke of it!!!
"This isn't about my personal feelings, cause I don't have much of them ... but all the women, children and men that have been victims of [domestic violence] in the past and especially the ones that haven't made it out yet ... you let us down! Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away."
The "app-oligy" she's referring to is the statement Snapchat made after pulling down the ad. "This advertisement is disgusting and never should have appeared on our service," the statement said. "We are so sorry we made the terrible mistake of allowing it through our review process. We are investigating how that happened so that we can make sure it never happens again."
It happened because Snapchat lets algorithms (not responsible human beings) approve its ads. Most social networking platforms do. And it's easy for a dodgy advertiser to sneak something offensive past a robot, hence Would-you-rather-gate-2018.
Even though Snapchat's share price bounced back between Kylie's damning tweet and Rihanna declaring "shame on you!" on Instagram, and even though it's still worth over $20 billion, an $800 million fall in value can't be called a good thing. Time for Snapchat to get it's house in order.
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