A former Snap Inc employee claims that the company doctored growth figures to make it look more appealing ahead of its planned flotation on the stock market. Anthony Pompliano has alleged he was fired from Snap Inc after objecting to practices and refusing to divulge sensitive information regarding his former employer, Facebook.

Pompliano was employed by Snap Inc, owner of Snapchat, in 2015 and placed on the business operations teams focused on growth and user engagement. The former Facebook product manager says that things came to a head with bosses when the company attempted to tweak figures ahead of its planned initial public offering (IPO) in March.

Pompliano alleges that Snap Inc inflated its growth figures as he was being hired by the company, and then shared these with investors including China's Alibaba Group. He claims his employment was terminated just three weeks after being hired after voicing his concerns to Snap Inc executives, including then-vice president of communications, Jill Hazelbaker, and former director of business operations, Brian Theisen.

In court documents, he also alleges that Snap Inc attempted to make him give up confidential information about Facebook. According to Pompliano, his refusal to do so played a part in his termination from the company.

Snap Inc has said that the lawsuit is entirely without merit. A spokesperson from the company told Bloomberg: "We've reviewed the complaint. It is totally made up by a disgruntled former employee."

Initial valuations put Snap Inc at around $25bn (£20bn). The company has dominated the social media sphere over the past 12 months, with more established platforms like Facebook and Instagram openly copying Snapchat's features as the photo and video-sharing app explodes in popularity.

eMarkerter predicts that Snapchat's users base will grow to 217 million by the end of 2017, up from 150 million in 2016. The app has proved a favourite of millennials aged 16-35, who make up the largest proportion of users.