I deleted Snapchat, despite the consequences

Following Snapchat's bizarre 'Would you rather slap Rihanna' or 'Punch Chris Brown?' ad, String Nguyen decided it was finally time to take her personal brand off the app.

I deleted Snapchat, to send a message. Domestic violence is not okay.

Snapchat, a visual messaging app, thought it was funny to promote an ad for a mobile game that asked a series of questions. The ad said, “Would you rather slap Rihanna” or “Punch Chris Brown?”

This is a clear reference to an incident in 2009, when Rihanna’s then-boyfriend, Chris Brown, physically assaulted her before a Grammys party. Brown pled guilty to get out of jail time.

There was one glorious moment, though, when Rihanna came out blazing and used Snapchat’s rival, Instagram Stories, to share her disappointment: “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 DV in the past and especially the ones who haven’t made it out yet… You let us down!”

Since the announcement, we all watched the stock of Snap Inc lose US$800 million in an afternoon. This wasn’t the first time a celebrity questioning Snapchat had a negative influence. Last month, Kylie Jenner tweeted: “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad”.

Personally, I do like the dog filters and the community I’ve built inside the app. I’ve taught and created a course to help hundreds of people to use Snapchat for marketing.

I produced an award-winning Snapchat channel called “Women In Tech.”

I have every reason to continue using it, both socially and financially. But, I have to question the ethics and attitude of Snapchat, because they promoted and signalled domestic violence as “cool” to an impressionable demographic of young teens.

A concerned parent showed me screenshots of what is being sent to his young daughter. They were ads for dating sites like Ashley Madison.

There’s an inside joke that the app is sexting app, and I myself have been bombarded with an unsolicited and unappreciated amount of eggplants.

We have to stand up and set standards. In a world of social media, we are surrounded by content that focuses on gaining attention and virality. If you watch carefully, you see many of them promoting violence for a laugh.

We only have to look at Logan Paul, a YouTuber, popular with young girls, to worry about the future. His recent video about suicide is only one of his recurring attempts to garner attention. However, all he is accomplishing is to plant seeds of dopamine hits that confuse the brain into thinking that self harm is okay. We cannot associate any violence with being cool.

Did you know that in Australia, one in three women and one in five men have experienced at least one incident of domestic violence by an intimate partner? One in four Australian kids has witnessed domestic violence. Exposure to domestic violence is recognised as a form of child abuse.

Stats aside, I have been a victim of domestic violence. I have seen close friends and family been abused by their partners. The Snapchat incident took me down memory lane, and I remember the guilt and shame that are part and parcel of domestic violence.

I didn’t have someone around to say “it’s not your fault, don’t blame yourself.” Having someone like a celebrity bringing light to it is powerful, it shows kids that domestic violence is not to be made light of. We are just beginning to plant seeds of hope for the future.

The emotional scars are still there, we all carry this guilt inside of us, but it’s not our fault. After watching Rihanna’s Instagram story, I was brought back to darker times.

I felt the need to take my own action, I needed to empower myself – and so I deleted Snapchat.

And it felt amazing. So, would you rather…

Use Snapchat


Delete Snapchat?

String Nguyen is a content creator. You can follow her on LinkedIn.


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