Apple’s co-founder, Programmer Steve Wozniak has sued Internet giant Google and its subsidiary YouTube over a Bitcoin scam, alleging that the platform failed to take down videos that used Wozniak’s likenesses for allowing bitcoin giveaway scams on its platform.
Wozniak and the 17 victims are not the only people who sued Youtube recently over crypto giveaway scams. Ripple Labs Inc. sued the company in April for failing to stop scammers from posting about fraudulent cryptocurrency giveaways that asked viewers to send XRP to a scam address. In addition to swindling hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims, Ripple alleges the scam harmed its brand and the image of its CEO, Bradley Garlinghouse.
Bitcoin is a new currency that was created in 2009 by an unknown person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Transactions are made with no middlemen – meaning, no banks! Bitcoin can be used to book hotels on Expedia, shop for furniture on Overstock and buy Xbox games. But much of the hype is about getting rich by trading it. The price of bitcoin skyrocketed into the thousands in 2017.
Bitcoins can be used to buy merchandise anonymously. In addition, international payments are easy and cheap because bitcoins are not tied to any country or subject to regulation. Small businesses may like them because there are no credit card fees. Some people just buy bitcoins as an investment, hoping that they’ll go up in value.
The lawsuit, filed in San Mateo County Superior Court, alleged that the videos used images and videos of Wozniak and other tech leaders like Bill Gates and Elon Musk “to deceive YouTube users into thinking if they sent cryptocurrency to an account they would receive twice as much back”, reports San Francisco Chronicle.
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”.
However, Youtube has argued that it is not at fault and not liable for scammers using its platform. The company filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday to dismiss Ripple’s lawsuit.
Youtube cited Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which “bars claims lodged against website operators for their editorial functions, such as the posting of comments concerning third-party posts, so long as those comments are not themselves actionable.” The company insists that according to this law, computer services should not be treated as the publisher or speaker of other providers’ content.