A judge in Georgia has dismissed a personal injury lawsuit filed by a driver who was critically injured in a car accident against social media company Snapchat. Plaintiff had accused the company of responsibility for the crash, arguing the firm incentivized users to speed in motor vehicles while using its app, which awards points to people who use the app to record their speed.
The company, however, insists that it does not encourage users to utilize its smartphone application while driving, and further actively discourages people from using the speed filter while driving.
Ultimately, in what is potentially a precedent-setting ruling, the judge decided that Snapchat as a social media platform is afforded a broad degree of immunity per the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (also sometimes referred to as Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996). That statute primarily was in response to concerns about the ability of minors to access pornography on the internet, but it also afforded certain protections to companies that allow their platforms to be used for public communication. Section 230 of that law extended federal immunity to any internet service provider defendants for information that originated with a third-party user of that service. Continue reading