Snap has confirmed that it is removing the controversial “Speed Filter” from the Snapchat app. The feature, which has been accused of playing a part in car accidents, will be removed from the app over the next few weeks.
Snap told NPR that it is removing the feature because it is no longer used by most of its users.
What exactly led Snap to scrap the feature now is unclear. Over several weeks, NPR asked Snap a series of questions about why it had stood by the speed filter for so long. A company spokeswoman told NPR, “Nothing is more important than the safety of our Snapchat community.”
A month later, the same spokeswoman confirmed the speed filter would soon be gone.
The feature “is barely used by Snapchatters,” she said on Thursday. “And in light of that, we are removing it altogether.”
Snap’s reason for removing the feature might not tell the whole story. A number of of lawsuits which claim that the app played a part in an accident are still ongoing.
After a number of accidents were reported that involved the feature, Snap lowered its prominence from a filter to a stick in the app, add a “Don’t Snap and Drive” warning to the sticker, and capped the tracked speed at 35 miles per hour.
“Lives will be saved. Crashes will be prevented, but the lawyer in me says, ‘My God, why did it take so long?’ ” said Joel Feldman, the co-founder of the nonprofit End Distracted Driving, one of the groups that urged Snapchat to remove the speed filter.
“While this will no doubt serve the safety of the motoring public moving forward, it does not remedy Snapchat’s choice to create and distribute the speed filter in the past,” Neff said. “We look forward to our day in court and pursuing justice for those who suffered unnecessary losses.”
Snap says that it is starting to remove the feature from its app now but it may take a few weeks for it to be completely removed for all of its 500 million users.