Sony Hack: Snapchat CEO Defends Secrets in Memo About Leaked Emails

Issue 19 FEA Evan Spiegel - P 2014
Noah Webb

Issue 19 FEA Evan Spiegel - P 2014

Michael Lynton sits on the board of the social messaging app

Sony isn't the only company that is being exposed by the cyberattack that hit the studio in late November. The eight batches of leaked Sony files released over the weekend also provides a window into the deal-making of red-hot startup Snapchat.

Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton sits on the board of the Venice-based company, and many of his emails — which were included in the files released Dec. 14 — detail secret acquisitions and long-term strategy. 

Despite the media frenzy around the messaging app, CEO Evan Spiegel has always tried to maintain a degree of privacy, and in a memo to staff that he posted on Twitter Wednesday, he says the hack made him "angry" and "devastated." In the note he also defends the importance of secrets.

"We keep secrets because we love surprising people," he writes. "We keep secrets because it's the best way to keep showing the world that growth is not only possible, it's necessary. We keep secrets because it's the right thing to do, not because it's the easy thing to do."  

He goes on to apologize to Snapchat employees. "I'm so proud of all of you," he says. "I want to give you all a huge hug because keeping secrets is exhausting." 

Snapchat was founded by Spiegel and Bobby Murphy in 2011 while they were students at Stanford. The app, which causes messages to disappear after up to 10 seconds, has raised more than $160 million in venture funding. Lynton took a board seat with Snapchat in June 2013. 

Read Spiegel's full memo to staff.