The firm behind the famous Snapchat app eventually deleted the “speed filter” function from its app this week, which displayed the pace at which a person was travelling when a Snap video was captured, in what seems to be the genesis tale for a number of cases.
The elimination of the function, which was introduced in 2013, was originally reported by NPR.
The speed effect “is scarcely utilised by Snapchatters… and in light of that, we are deleting it completely,” a Snap, Inc. official told NPR this week.
However, there is a legal reason why the IT corporation may have concluded that now was the correct moment to remove something that had been in use for eight years.
Several lawsuits have been made against Snapchat over the years over the Speed Filter function, and news accounts concerning individuals, including many teenagers, who have died or been wounded in collisions with the filter are plentiful.
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Here are a few examples: In March 2018, a lady was killed while driving a Mini Cooper at 106 mph.
In February 2016, three young ladies perished in a fire when a Camaro collided after travelling over 70 mph. In October 2016, a man driving a Volkswagen Golf murdered himself and four people after reaching speeds of at least 115.6 mph.
In all of these cases—and a slew of others—speed Snapchat’s filter is likely to have influenced the speed at which the vehicles were travelling before colliding.
Some persons utilising the speed filter to record high-speed levels appeared to treat it like a game to drive beyond their own ability until the cars crashed.
“A lady is heard laughing throughout the 10-second footage, likely taken from the passenger seat,” according to a Tampa Bay Times piece on the Golf’s Snapchat video.
In the past, Snapchat’s reaction to events like this has been to state that the business does not support reckless driving and to show a “don’t snap and drive” warning while using the speed filter.
When a passenger is recording, this is inconvenient, and Snapchat recently limited the maximum speed the app will show to 35 mph.
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In May, a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the parents of three young men who died in a collision in Wisconsin while using the Snapchat speed filter to record speeds of up to 123 mph had the right to use Snapchat.
This was a “surprise judgement,” according to NPR since it would not enable Snapchat to invoke Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which many digital firms use to avoid being held liable for what users post on their services.
Section 230 did not protect Snapchat, according to the Ninth Circuit judges, since the speed filter was a function of the programme rather than user material.
The issue, according to the Ninth Circuit, is the app’s intrinsic architecture, which rewards users with “trophies, streaks, and social recognitions” depending on the photographs they submit. The issue is that the programme does not clearly explain how to get these accomplishments.
“Many Snapchat users think, if not outright believe, that they would be rewarded for utilising the Speed Filter to “capture a 100-mph or faster snap.”
‘This is a game for Snap and many of its users,’ according to plaintiffs, with the aim being to achieve 100 mph, capture a picture or video with the Speed Filter, and then post the 100-mph-Snap on Snapchat.’”
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Last month, the court said that Snapchat should have known that a reward system like this encouraged teenage drivers to travel at unsafe speeds, but that the company did nothing to remove the incentive from the app.
Snap just took a month to delete the feature after the court’s verdict, despite having left it in place for eight years.