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Snapchat needs an umbrella: Rihanna's scorn means $1 billion hit for app's parent company

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Pop singer Rihanna responded to a Snapchat ad about her this week, resulting in the company losing around $1 billion. (Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images)

Pop star Rihanna struck a formidable blow to Snapchat's parent company on Thursday, resulting in the firm losing roughly $1 billion during the day's trading.

Snapchat recently posted an ad asking users if they'd rather "slap Rihanna" or "punch Chris Brown," making light of the former couple's domestic abuse episode from years ago. Brown was sentenced to five years probation and 1,400 hours of community service after being convicted of assaulting Rihanna following the Grammys in 2009. He pleaded guilty.

In response to the ad, Rihanna took to Snapchat and Instagram, saying "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! 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 DV victims and made a joke of it!"

She continued, "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 in the past and especially the ones who haven't made it out yet...you let us down! Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away."

The ad was posted via a mobile video game called "Would you rather." A Snap, Inc. spokesman responded in a statement, acknowledging "This advertisement is disgusting and never should have appeared on our service. We are so sorry we made the terrible mistake of allowing it through our review process."

Snapchat claimed that the advertisement was approved in error, and removed it earlier this week.

With Rihanna being hailed as one of the top 10 most influential people on social media, some investors took notice and ran. But the company has faced other recent scrutiny from millennial investors who are wary of the firm's potential.

While Snapchat had an enormously successful IPO in 2017, investors have paid close attention after its gangbuster introduction was followed by significant volatility.

Last month, Snapchat lost $1.3 billion after Kylie Jenner tweeted her distaste for the app's recent redesign, saying "Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me...ugh this is so sad."

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