You know that Snapchat speed filter that showed you how fast you were going? The one that all but encouraged you to hold your phone while moving at presumably high speeds? It turns out having that in the app wasn’t such a great idea. As NPR reports, numerous families have come at Snapchat with lawsuits over loved ones who’ve crashed while using the filter. Now, after years of pushback from Snap, it is being removed. Somehow, it stuck around for roughly eight years.
When the speed filter first came on the scene, I had a hard time trying to ascertain its purpose. It’s a cool tech demonstration — no question there. But it was never clear to me when someone might appropriately use it.
Attaching one’s speed to an image was always going to turn into a contest about who could post a really big number. It was always going to lead people to speed in order to achieve what NPR called “bragging rights.” But even innocent-seeming shots where someone wasn’t behind the wheel of a car never seemed all that safe to me. Do you want someone taking a MPH selfie on a roller coaster, for instance, where they could lose a grip on the thing and seriously injure another person?
As Joel Feldman of End Distracted Driving put it, “Lives will be saved. Crashes will be prevented, but the lawyer in me says, ‘My God, why did it take so long?'” While I feel Snapchat deserves plenty of criticism for defending the speed filter as long as it did, I’m glad the company has finally come around to removing it.
According to NPR, Snapchat started the process of taking the filter out for users this week. It could take “a couple weeks,” however, for the change to be rolled out fully to the app’s user base.