Snap removes speed filter linked to reckless driving lawsuits

Snap is removing its controversial “speed filter” from Snapchat this week, NPR reports. The in-app effect displays your current speed in miles or kilometers per hour, and many critics have claimed the feature encouraged reckless driving — with some saying that Snap should be held liable when the speed filter was connected to deadly car crashes.

There have been multiple lawsuits over the years connecting Snapchat to car crashes. One concerning a 2015 car accident in Georgia arrived just a few years after Snapchat was first updated to include the filter. In the years since, the company has demoted the filter to a sticker, burying it in a separate menu, and making it a bit harder to use.

The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court recently ruled that Snap 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.

The case, Lemmon v. Snap, involved another crash in Georgia that resulted in the death of three men in 2017. The Ninth Circuit court said that the family members of the men could sue Snap after the case was initially dismissed in 2020.

Snap confirmed that the sticker is being removed and offered the following statement:

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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