Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is suing the Google-owned video-sharing platform YouTube for allowing scammers to use his name and image in bitcoin giveaway scams similar to those that were promoted after Twitter was hacked.
According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in state court in San Mateo County, California, scammers have been using images and video’s of Wozniak, who left Apple in 1985, to trick YouTube users into sending them cryptoassets, by pretending the Apple co-founder is hosting a live giveaway where he will double the amount of crypto received.
The scammers promoting these giveaways, as Bloomberg points out, also use the names and images of other celebrities in YouTube videos to promote fake giveaways. As CryptoGlobe reported earlier this year, in some cases hackers even hijack popular YouTubers’ accounts to run these scams.
YouTube, Wozniak’s lawsuit claims, has been “unresponsive” to his repeated requests to take down the fraudulent videos and promotions. In contrast, Twitter reacted the “same day” the accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and others were hijacked to promote a fake bitcoin giveaway. It adds:
YouTube has been unapologetically hosting, promoting, and directly profiting from similar scams.
Wozniak sued both YouTube and its parent company Alphabet along with 17 other alleged victims of the scam. The lawsuit is asking the court to order both YouTube and Alphabet to immediately remove the videos and to warn users about these cryptocurrency giveaway scams. The lawsuit also seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Ripple and its CEO Brad Garlinghouse have also sued YouTube in a San Francisco court earlier this year over these crypto scams, claiming YouTube’s failure to crack down on XRP giveaway scams caused “irreparable harm to their public image, brand, and reputation.”
YouTube has defended itself by arguing it is immune from liability under the federal Communications Decent Act. The law, from 1996, says internet providers can’t be held liable for content posted on their platforms by users.
Featured image via Unsplash.