Snapchat Removes Its "Speed" Filter After Being Named a Defendant in Several Reckless Driving Lawsuits
A news article published on theverge.com reports that Snapchat is removing its provocative "speed filter" from its Snapchat app this week, NPR reports.*
The Snapchat effect shows a user's current speed in miles or kilometers per hour. Several safety advocates claim the feature encourages reckless driving, while others are saying that Snapchat should be held financially liable when the speed filter is connected to fatal car accidents.
The news report states that there have been several lawsuits over the past several years that connect Snapchat to car accidents. One accident occurred in Georgia back in 2015. In the years since that accident, Snapchat demoted the filter to a sticker, hiding the app in a separate menu, and attempted to make the app harder to use.
The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court ruled that Snap chat could be sued for the speed filter/sticker's involvement in car accidents. The court found that Snap isn't protected here by Section 230 — a portion of the Communications Decency Act that shields companies from being sued over the content users' publish on a platform. In that case, Lemmon v. Snap, an accident in Georgia that resulted in the tragic deaths of three men back in 2017. The Ninth Circuit court permitted the family members of the men to file a lawsuit against Snap even after the case was originally dismissed back in 2020.
Snapchat confirmed that the speed sticker is being removed from the platform and provided the following statement to the news reporters:
"Nothing is more important than the safety of our Snapchat community, and we had previously disabled the filter at driving speeds. Today the sticker is barely used by Snapchatters, and in light of that, we are removing it altogether."
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