Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak sues YouTube over Bitcoin scams on his name

Steve Wozniak has sued Google and YouTube over Bitcoin giveaway scams.
Image: Associated Press

Steve Wozniak has accused YouTube and Google of facilitating Bitcoin giveaway scams by not taking any action against them.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (The Woz) is suing YouTube and its parent company Google for allegedly allowing phony Bitcoin giveaway that exploits his name and likeness to scam people.

Only last week, Twitter cryptocurrency scam surfaced wherein, attackers tweeted identical bitcoin messages from accounts that had verified badges and followers in millions including Elon Musk, Kanye West, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, and others.

However, Twitter vigilantly took action against the malicious activity and extinguished the scam which has been profusely praised in the lawsuit as well.

Unlike Twitter, video sharing giant, YouTube is now under fire for allowing phony and deceiving Bitcoin-related video uploads. Scammers deceivingly used Wozniak’s images and snippets of his videos to ‘convince’ users to send him bitcoins and in return, he will double the number.

The lawsuit incorporated screenshots of the scam that showcased ‘500-BTC’ and ‘10,000-BTC’ giveaway event using the cofounders’ name. The likeness of Bill Gates and Elon Musk has also been violated and exploited through these cryptocurrency scams.

See: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak Launches ‘Woz U’ Online Tech Education Platform

It is worth noting that 18 plaintiffs including Wozniak have filed the lawsuit seeking punitive damages and a trial by jury. The lawsuit also demanded that YouTube take down all Bitcoin giveaway promotions that blatantly uses his name and has caused irreparable loss to his reputation.

In contrast to Twitter ‘protecting its users from scams’, the defendant YouTube has been blamed for hosting, promoting, and also earning profits from this. Its Parent company Google has also been blamed for allegedly being a part of this by providing paid advertising that targets potential users that have now been swindled and ripped off.

“YOUTUBE and GOOGLE took the further step of promoting and profiting from these scams by providing paid advertising that targeted users who were most likely to be harmed.” 

Wozniak accuses YouTube and Google of embezzling his name and likeness for aiding and abetting fraud and violating his right of publicity and also showcasing negligence. The lawsuit stated:

“Defendants’ failure to warn was willful, malicious, oppressive, fraudulent, and/or in reckless disregard of the Plaintiffs’ rights, thereby entitling Plaintiffs to punitive damages.”

A full preview of the complaint is available below:

This isn’t the first time phony YouTube bitcoin scams have been brought to light. There video creating platform has received a multitude of complaints from users as well to ensue timely action against this.

Nevertheless, the action taken is rather late or they simply refuse to do so. Pertaining to this, the lawsuit also blames the defendant for promoting such criminal activities and enterprises.

However, YouTube spokesperson via an email stated:

“We take the abuse of our platform seriously, and take action quickly when we detect violations of our policies, such as scams or impersonation.”

Previously too, three YouTube channels Juice TV, MaximSakulevich, and Right Human were hijacked and were renamed after Elon Musk’s Space X channel. One of these channels had over 200,000 subscribers and after being hijacked streamed original recordings of Elon Musk’s interviews or SpaceX conferences whilst asking users to transfer cryptocurrency that will be doubled in return.

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