Snapchat pressured to delete its speed filters

By Nickson Maberi

Snap, a parent company to Snapchat, introduced speed filters in 2013. Using one’s GPS, the app is in a position to tell how fast one is moving.

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Since the release of the speed filters, Snapchat has been dragged to court several times on accounts of promoting ‘reckless driving’ that ended in fatal accidents. Citing section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act(CDA), Snapchat has been able to win these cases time and again claiming the filter is but a neutral communication tool and thus the users are utterly responsible for all their actions as a result of its usage.

Despite a disclaimer: “don’t snap and drive”, one of the measures introduced by snap as criticism kept mounting after the filter had claimed a number of lives, many youths have evaded it and continued to drive as they snap in an attempt to show how fast they are driving.

However, on May 4th 2021, Snapchat faced a huge blow in the face as Judge Kim Wardlaw at California’s ninth circuit court of appeal ruled that Snapchat should take responsibility to protect its users and can thus be sued for the deaths that its filter caused.

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“Snap indisputably designed Snapchat’s reward system and speed filter and made those aspects of Snapchat available to users through the internet…” said Judge Kim in May’s ruling.

Kim Wardlaw further noted that such claims rested on the premise that the manufacturers have a duty to exercise due care in supplying products that don’t present an unreasonable risk of harm to the public.

By end of last week, Snapchat had bowed down to pressure and embarked on the withdraw of the filter- a process that will take a few weeks before the feature is phased out. According to, the filter is being pulled down because of it’s low usage frequency.

A report by BBC posted on Monday 21st June, indicated that Snapchat was being sued by parents of two young men who lost their lives because of the filter.

“But the company is being sued by parents of two young men, who alleged the filter encouraged their sons to drive at dangerous speeds and three deaths were due to negligent design” the report reads.

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