Steve Wozniak sues Google, YouTube over crypto scams

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has sued Youtube and Google; for allowing bitcoin giveaway scams that impersonate him to thrive on their platform.

by Daniel Abel – July 30, 2020

Steve Wozniak and 17 other individuals filed the lawsuit against Google’s Youtube in a Superior Court of the State of California. Represented by Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, they are seeking damages for giveaway scams running on Google’s YouTube platform for months.

The lawsuit alleged that the profile and likeness of other popular tech entrepreneurs such as billionaire Bill Gates, Tesla’s Elon Musk, and Michael Dell were also exploited in the giveaway scams.

Additionally, Steve Wozniak, in the lawsuit, accused the video-sharing giant of not doing enough. To prevent millions of dollars in cryptocurrency to be stolen in the giveaway scams by perpetrators using his likeness.

Apple co-founder in the lawsuit claims the giveaway scams caused harm to him and the other 17 individuals’ reputations. Alleging, that Google and YouTube actively promoted and profited from the defamation while knowingly providing targeted advertising for the scammers.

“If the video-sharing giant had acted swiftly to prevent these giveaway scams to an extent, we won’t be in this current situation. YouTube, and its parent firm Google, need to employ better algorithms and added special effort like building custom software to curtail these cases of criminal activity,” Steve Wozniak said.

Ripple’s class-action lawsuit against YouTube

Notably, while Steve Wozniak is suing YouTube for allowing scammers to use his identity to defraud individuals of their crypto. The video-sharing giant is already in a lawsuit served by Ripple Labs, and it’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse. Accusing YouTube of not preventing XRP giveaway scams on its platform that induced monetary damage for its users and hurt Ripple’s reputation.

Ripple, in its lawsuit, issued sets off outright demand for the video-sharing giant to abide with. This includes being more aggressive and proactive in identifying these giveaway scams. When identified, the scams should be removed immediately and, most importantly, not profit from these scams.

However, the video platform YouTube as a response recently filed a motion to dismiss Ripple’s lawsuit, stating it isn’t liable for crypto scammers using its platform. The video-sharing platform noted that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects it from Ripple’s allegations, and therefore the case should be dismissed.

YouTube, in its lawsuit, further argues that it did not knowingly put up any of the scams or copyright infringement. And cannot be held accountable for any third-party content on its platform. Also, adding that it shut down such scams immediately, it is alerted to it.

Increase in crypto scams impersonating celebrities and tech entrepreneurs

In the first half of 2020, there has been an uptick in the number of crypto scams impersonating famous individuals. Such as Steve Wozniak, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Daniel Craig, among others.

These scams have invariably led to a huge class-action suit against social media platforms where they are published. Recently, Qatari billionaire, Wissam Al Mana, sued Facebook over crypto scam advertisements involving his image in the Middle East.