Apple co-founder sues YouTube over Bitcoin scam

Daniel Fowler
July 26, 2020

According to the lawsuit, the scammers use Wozniak's images as well as videos to convince users that the tech entrepreneur would be hosting a live Bitcoin Giveaway event, adding that the users have a limited-time opportunity to send bitcoin to a given address in order to receive twice the amount in return.

Wozniak's lawsuit comes a day after YouTube's dismissal bid in a similar case brought by Ripple Labs.

Wozniak said that the allegations "paint a picture of an algorithm-driven tech giant that does not respond to victims and that YouTube has allowed scammers to use me, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and others to defraud innocent people out of their cryptocurrency".

Wozniak praised the quick and decisive response of Twitter in last week's coordinated cyberattack after hackers managed to gain access to multiple accounts on the platform and posted a false crypto giveaway message. In mid-July, Twitter suffered a security breach that allowed a malicious actor the ability to tweet from verified accounts, including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and even the official Apple twitter account.

Wozniak claims that several scammers used images and videos of him to request Bitcoin donations.

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Wozniak was one of 18 plaintiffs that filed the lawsuit on Tuesday asking that all bitcoin scams be removed from the YouTube platform, particularly those using Wozniak's name or likeness. Apart from Wozniak, the other plaintiffs in the case are reportedly from Europe, Japan, China, Malaysia, Canada, the US, and the United Kingdom. "Despite Plaintiffs' and legions of other users' repeated pleas that YouTube take timely action to end this bitcoin giveaway scam, YouTube repeatedly delayed or refused to do so", claims the lawsuit.

How these scams work is that crypto-investors are lured into putting their money in a seemingly ambitious project. "And with such companies as YouTube (Google) and Twitter, good luck reaching a human".

The complaint comprises Wozniak and 17 others from the United States, Canada, the U.K., Japan, Malaysia, China, and Europe who were victims of the BTC scam.

"We take abuse of our platform seriously, and take action quickly when we detect violations of our policies, such as scams or impersonation", a YouTube spokesperson told Engadget. Earlier this year, the popular payment protocol company Ripple did the same, as the number of such giveaway scams with their involvement had increased, and YouTube supposedly did nothing to stop them.

He is seeking an injunction requiring YouTube to remove videos with his name and image that promote a bitcoin scam, and monetary damages.

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