NPR reports that Snapchat has eliminated the troublesome ‘Speed Filter’ from the app. The decision to remove the filter from the popular video recording platform comes eight years after it was launched (in 2013) and facing multiple lawsuits from aggrieved families.
By using smartphones’ GPS, Speed filter to recorded automobiles’ speed and displayed it in snaps to show how fast a user was driving. Unfortunately to impress their audience, some users, particularly teenagers, drove very fast which led to fatal car crashes. In 2015, a Snapchat user in Georgia suffered permanent brain damage after a collision and three young women died in Philadelphia. In 2016, five people died in Florida, and in 2017, three young men in Wisconsin crashed into a tree after driving at 123 miles per hour. And families of the deceased have filed lawsuits against the company.
The company kept the controversial filter but made changes to the filter’s visibility and functionality by changing it to a sticker on the app, adding a warning “Don’t Snap and Drive” and restricting the top speed to 35 miles per hour. As pressure to ensure users’ safety increased, Snapchat bid adieu to Speed filter. Although the company did not admit that the filter caused fatal accidents, it did ask the court to end proceedings after it was scrapped for good.
Although happy, critics question why Snapchat delayed the removal of ‘Speed filter’
As per the report, a company spokeswoman told NPR that “nothing is more important than the safety of our Snapchat community” and confirmed that since the filter “is barely used by Snapchatters, in light of that, we are removing it altogether.”
This news has made critics happy that the feature is finally gone. Joel Feldman, the co-founder of the nonprofit End Distracted Driving said that;
“Lives will be saved. Crashes will be prevented, but the lawyer in me says, ‘My God, why did it take so long?’ ” one of the groups that urged Snapchat to remove the speed filter.”
Having said that, Michael Neff, lawyer of the aggrieved family says that the changes will not impact the legal proceedings.
“While this will no doubt serve the safety of the motoring public moving forward, it does not remedy Snapchat’s choice to create and distribute the speed filter in the past,” Neff said. “We look forward to our day in court and pursuing justice for those who suffered unnecessary losses.”