Snapchat Removes Controversial Speed Filter

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The controversial filter is gone following several fatal road accidents.

Snapchat recently removed the controversial "speed filter" after a series of accidents allegedly caused by the social media app.

The speed filter essentially allowed the user to overlay real-time speed over a video. This filter caused a massive outcry in 2016 following a high-speed crash. Christal McGee was filmed using the filter, going as fast as 113 mph in her mom's Mercedes-Benz C230. Moments later, she crashed into the rear of a Mitsubishi Outlander at an estimated 107 mph. The owner of the other car was seriously injured. McGee even posted another image after the crash, stating that she was lucky to be alive.

The most recent incident claimed the lives of three young men. Earlier this year, the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court permitted the parents of these teens to sue Snapchat for negligent design. Snap Inc, the owners and makers of Snapchat argued that the speed filter did not cause the accident.

Following a series of earlier lawsuits, Snap Inc made the speed filter less accessible and included a warning label. The maximum speed at which the user could record was also dropped to 35 mph. According to Snap Inc, the usage of this app hardly registers on their side, and their other filters like face swap and flower crown are far more popular.

According to the latest Statista figures, Snapchat has 280 million active users globally. Snapchat's own website claims that it reaches 75 percent of millennials and Gen Z. In other words, Snapchat is aimed at young people. The CDC also states that drivers under 20 have the highest number of fatalities in crashes, mostly due to distracted drivers.

Far be it from us to call young people dumb for using this app while driving, which is also a problem. Even Lewis Hamilton got into trouble for snapping while riding his Harley Davidson in Australia in 2016. He wasn't particularly #blessed that day. Hamilton is hardly a daft chap, so we'll reserve comment on that.

NBC News/YouTube
NBC News/YouTube
NBC News/YouTube
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It's also worth noting that while Snapchat is under discussion, distracted driving has no age limit. Chevrolet was the first manufacturer to notice this problem and launched the "Call Me Out" app. Basically, the app started playing personalized messages from family members once the accelerometer picked up that the car was moving at more than five miles per hour. Volvo's next-generation cars like the XC40 Recharge and XC50 will likely take it a step further. If your Volvo notices you aren't paying attention, it will pull to the side of the road.

Still, we can't help but wonder what the speed filter is for. If you browse YouTube for long enough, you'll eventually find an innocent enough answer. In between all the horrific accident footage, you'll eventually find people posting a plane's takeoff speed or the top speed of a train.

Since this latest court ruling, Snapchat has removed the filter. Snapchat did not cite the lawsuit specifically, rather choosing to name the low usage numbers as a reason for removing it entirely.

NBC News/YouTube
NBC News/YouTube
Source Credits: CNET

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