Snapchat is a famous photo, video, audio, and live messaging app. Snapchat is popular among the younger generations, particularly those below the age of 16, leading to many privacy concerns for parents. Snapchat was founded on Sep 16, 2011, by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, based in Santa Monica, California.

Quick Facts


  • Ranked #926th worldwide
  • Active users 500 M
  • Type Messaging Networks
  • Launched date Sep 2011
  • Employees 2,734
  • Headquarters Santa Monica, California, U.S.
  • Parent company Snap Inc. (2011 - present)


Evan Spiegel California
Bobby Murphy
Reggie Brown


  • Brand value In 2020 N/A
  • Revenue in 2020 $2.5 B
  • Net loss In 2020 $325.95 M

Data Graphs


Current Controversies

Current ControversiesPhoneSpying. (via

In Mar 2018, an advertisement containing a poll about Rihanna was posted stating, "Would you rather punch Chris Brown or slap Rihanna?" Rihanna tweeted that Snapchat was "insensitive to domestic violence victims" and urged fans to delete Snapchat.

In May 2019, it was revealed that multiple Snapchat employees used an internal tool called SnapLion, originally designed to gather data in compliance with law enforcement requests, to spy on users.

In 2020, a woman in North Carolina sued Snapchat, claiming features of the app enabled her alleged rapist and his friends to hide evidence of the rape.

In particular, the suit alleges that "because of the ways Snapchat is and has been designed, constructed, marketed, and maintained, the woman's assailants were able to send these nonconsensual, pornographic photographs and videos of [her] with little to no threat of law enforcement verifying that they did so."

The Hack

The HackSnapchatDB. (via

Snapchat was hacked on Dec 31, 2013, Gibson Security, an Australian security firm, had disclosed an API security vulnerability to the company on Aug 27, 2013, and then made public the source code for the exploit on Dec 25.

On Dec 27, Snapchat announced that it had implemented mitigating features. Nonetheless, an anonymous group hacked them, saying that the mitigating features presented only "minor obstacles."

The hackers revealed parts of approximately 4.6M Snapchat usernames and phone numbers on a website named and sent a statement to the popular technology blog TechCrunch saying that their objective had been to “Our motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness around the issue, and also put public pressure on Snapchat to get this exploit fixed. Security matters as much as user experience does.”

Original Idea

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Reggie Brown brought the idea for a disappearing pictures application to Evan Spiegel because Spiegel had prior business experience. Brown and Spiegel then pulled in Bobby Murphy, who had experience coding.

The three worked closely together for several months and launched Snapchat as "Picaboo" on the iOS operating system on Jul 8, 2011. Reggie Brown was ousted from the company months after it was launched.

The app was relaunched as Snapchat in Sep 2011, and the team focused on usability and technical aspects, rather than branding efforts. One exception was the decision to keep a mascot designed by Brown, "Ghostface Chillah," named after Ghostface Killah of the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan.

On May 8, 2012, Reggie Brown sent an email to Evan Spiegel during their senior year at Stanford, in which he offered to renegotiate his equitable share regarding ownership of the company. Lawyers for Snapchat responded by insisting that he had never had any creative connection to the product.

In Sep 2014, Brown settled with Spiegel and Murphy for $157.5M and was credited as one of the original authors of Snapchat.

Brief History

Apr Reggie Brown creates the idea for an ephemeral messaging platform.
Jul Launched from Spiegel's father's living room under the name Picaboo, as an iOS-only app.
Apr After Reggie Brown left the company, they re-incorporate as Snapchat.

Barry Eggers, a managing director at the venture capital firm Lightspeed Ventures, invested $485,000 in the company.

May Snapchat is processing about 25 images a second.
Oct Users are sharing about 20M images a day.

Launched an Android app.

Dec Raising north of $10M at around $70M valuation, by Benchmark’s Mitch Lasky.

Released video sharing and began prototyping monetization features.

Feb Snapchat raises a $13.5M Series A led by Benchmark’s Mitch Lasky.

Users are sending 60M snaps a day (about 700 snaps a second).

Launched video sharing on its Android app.

Snapchat is sued by Reginald Brown, a Stanford graduate student.

Apr Users share 150M images per day (about 1700 per second).
Jun Raised a $80M Series B, a valuation of about $800M.
Jul Documents related to Reginald Brown's lawsuit against Snapchat are released.
Sep Released Snapchat Micro, an app for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

Users are sharing 350M photographs a day (about 4000 per second).

Oct Snapchat updates Snapchat Stories.
Nov Snapchat spurned a $3B acquisition offer from social networking company Facebook.

Users are sharing 400M snaps a day (about 4500 per second).

Dec Snapchat hires Emily White as COO.

Raised $50M in Series C funding from Coatue Management.

Snapchat users to replay one snap every 24 hours.

Jan A security flaw in Snapchat's Find Friends feature leads to 4.6M usernames and phone numbers being leaked.

Introduced Snap-tchas (a wordplay on CAPTCHAs) to deter spam and improve security.

Feb Security researcher Jamie Sanchez discovers a vulnerability in Snapchat.

Snapchat is hacked to send people spam pictures of fruit smoothies.

Mar Acquired Vergence Labs for $15M.
May The company acquires the software company AddLive.

Snapchat settles with FTC over privacy breach.

Add ephemeral text chat and video calling.

Jun Launched collaborative timelines based on events.
Aug Adding a "Live" section that allows people to follow events live.
Sep Snapchat begins using push notifications for Snapchat Stories.

After three years of legal wrangling, Snapchat finally settles lawsuit with ousted Co-Founder Reginald Brown.

Oct Hundreds of thousands of Snapchat photos are leaked.

Announced users will start receiving ads from brands under the Recent Updates section.

Nov Announced Snapcash, a tool allowing people to send each other money.

Snapchat includes a sponsored story from Samsung and the AMAs in its Our Story section.

Dec Acquired QR for $50M, Vergence Eyeglass Cam for $15M.

Microsoft removes third-party Snapchat apps from the Windows Phone store at Snapchat's request.

Raised $485M from 23 investors for its Series D round, a valuation of $10B.

Jan Launched Discover.
Feb Launched the Snapchat Safety Center.
Mar Snapchat's next $500M funding round (Series E), a valuation of $15B.

Snapchat COO Emily White, left the company.

May 100M active users (about 400M snaps a day).

2B video views a day.

Jul Snapchat changed its interface to no longer require people to tap and hold to watch.
Aug Launched a new mode called Travel Mode.
Sep Introduced “Lenses”, augmented reality filters.
Oct Add slow-mo, fast-forward and rewind video filters.
Nov 6B daily video views.

Fidelity Investments has marked down Snapchat's valuation by 25%, from $30.72 a share to $22.91 a share.

Mar Snapchat acquired Bitstrips, the company that makes bitmojis.

Snapchat announces Chat 2.0, a collection of product updates.

Apr 10B daily video views.
May Snapchat adds support for decorating snaps with 200+ stickers.

Snapchat files with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reporting its latest Series F round. The round includes $1.8B in funds raised.

Jun Snapchat acquires Seene (also known as Obvious Engineering).
Jul Launched Memories.
Aug Snapchat acquires mobile search app Vurb for $110M.
Sep Snapchat is featured in a T-Mobile commercial.

The company rebrands itself to Snap Inc.

Snapchat launched Spectacles - smartglasses.

Nov The company files documents for an IPO value at $25–35B.
Dec Snapchat buying technology company Flite and Israeli augmented reality start-up Cimagine for $30–40M.

A partnership is issued with Turner Broadcasting System.

Jan The company has established international headquarters in London.

Adding search functionality and a new global live "Our Story" feature.

Feb The company aims to raise $3B in an IPO.
Mar Snap Inc. goes public with an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

Selling 200M priced at $17 per share, for a total of $3.4B.

May Introduced Custom Stories.
Jun Launched Snap Map feature.
Jan Introduced the use of end-to-end encryption in the application but only for snaps.
Oct Launched the Snap Camera desktop application for macOS and Windows PCs.
Jun Announced "minis", embeddable apps that live inside the parent Snap app.
Aug Launching body-tracking Augmented Reality lenses.

Network Features


StorySnapchat stories. (via

You can link snaps together and broadcast them as you capture them. They’ll appear to your followers as a “story” reel. They can tap through your story and watch every snap to experience your entire day.

A reel can only be played back for 24 hours, after which, it disappears for good, though you can always save your entire story, or an individual snap from your story, to the Memory section - aka private storage - of your Snapchat to keep forever.


SnapcodeSnapcode. (via

A Snapcode is a scannable code that makes adding new friends even easier. Your Snapcode, which is similar to a QR code, can be located on the Profile screen. You can access it by tapping the ghost icon or your Bitmoji in the corner of the Camera screen.

Snap Map

Snap MapSnap map. (via

The Snap Map shows your location and the locations of all of your friends, so you can see what’s happening right now, right where you are. To access the Snap Map, pinch in on your screen. If you don’t want to share your location, you can always put yourself in ghost mode.

Score: Your Snapchat score is the number that is logged by your username on your profile. You get one point for every Snap you send and a point for every Snap you receive.

Snaps: A Snap is a picture or video you send through the app to one or more of your friends. A video snap can be a maximum of 10 seconds long. Snaps are deleted once they’ve been viewed by all recipients, unless you add them to your Story, in which case they disappear after 24 hours. Unopened Snaps are deleted after 30 days.

Snapback: when somebody answers your snap with a snap. If someone sends you a snap, you see a notification in the bottom left hand corner with the number of unread snaps you have to view.

Snapstreak: A streak is shown next to a contact’s name on the Snapchat app. A streak is symbolised by a little picture of a flame and the number of days the streak has gone on for. Only the two people involved in the streak can see this.

Trophy Case is where you'll be shown your achievements on Snapchat. From sending a snap with a filter to sending 50 snaps with five or more pen colours, trophies encourage user interaction and content creation.

Lenses are basically a way to augment your selfies. They are often goofy animations that are overlaid on top of your selfie.

3D World Lenses: Unlike Lenses, which are primarily applied to your face - or a selfie shot - in real-time, World Lenses affect the environment around you. They appear in the same row as Lenses, but only when your camera is facing outward.

Filters are design overlays that you add on top of your Snaps. After you take a Snap, swipe to see what's available. Filters can add color effects, show venue info, feature your Bitmoji, show what you're doing, and more.

Geofilters are graphical overlays available if the user is within a certain geographical location, such as a city, event, or destination. Users can design and create their own geofilters for personal events at a fee of $10–15 USD per hour.

Chat: This is a messaging feature within Snapchat that lets you directly chat with other users. You can also send Bitmoji stickers, start a live video call, send money, share snaps, and more.

Memories: Since launch, Snapchat has added several features that allow you to screenshot or save snaps. It not only gives you another way to store snaps in Snapchat’s cloud but also introduces a section for accessing media locally stored on your device.

Bitmoji are stickers featuring personalized cartoon avatars, which can be used in snaps and messaging. Bitmoji characters can also be used as World Lenses.

Friend emojis can be customisable, however there are default emojis.

Super BFF: You have been each other’s #1 Best Friend for two months in a row.

BFF: You have been each other’s #1 Best Friend for two weeks in a row.

Besties: You are each other’s #1 Best Friend.

BFs: They’re one of your Best Friends!

Mutual Besties: Your #1 Best Friend is also their #1 Best Friend.

Mutual BFs: One of your Best Friends is also one of this Snapchatters Best Friends!

Snapstreak!: You're on a Snapstreak!

Snapstreak is ending: Your Snapstreak is going to end soon! Both you and your friend need to send a Snap to each other within 24 hours, or you’ll lose your Snapstreak.

Birthday: It's your friend's birthday!

Snapchat Discover is a page on Snapchat that's basically a news feed. On it, you'll find content in the story format from news publishers, also known as publishing partners, such as The Wall Street Journal, ESPN, and other content from influencers for brands.

Augmented Reality (AR) lenses: The lenses now incorporate geo-locational mapping techniques to incorporate digital overlays onto real world surfaces. These lenses track 18 joints across the body to identify body movements, and generate effects around the body of the user.

Advertising is now also utilizing AR lenses that make users a part of the advert. Coca Cola, Pepsi and Taco Bell are just a select few of the brands now utilizing the tech on Snapchat.

Friend check up will serve to remind Snapchatters that over time they may have added someone to their friends list who they may no longer want to be in touch with on our app.

According to Digital Information World, Snapchat’s Encryption is limited to snaps only, so it doesn’t apply to text messages or group chat messages sent on Snapchat.


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