Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is suing YouTube and parent company Google for not taking down Bitcoin scams using his name and image.
In fact, Wozniak is one of the 18 plaintiffs in the lawsuit that was recently filed in the Superior Court of the State of California in the county of San Mateo.
YouTube tardy on taking down Bitcoin scams
The scam on YouTube follows the same pattern as many other Bitcoin scams. The image and name of a celebrity or company are used to lure victims in. The scam promises that people who send BTC to a specific address will get double the amount back.
Such a scam recently took place on Twitter where hackers took over 130 high-profile accounts. Twitter acted right away, deleting the tweets, and taking back control of the accounts. Still, over US$130,000 [AUS$182,000] was stolen while the scam was active.
The lawsuit alleges that YouTube, unlike Twitter, allowed such Bitcoin scams to continue for months. Wozniak was not the only major personality used in the YouTube scams. Other notable celebrities included Bill Gates and Elon Musk.
Wozniak and the other claimants said they asked YouTube and Google for months to take down the scam videos. Apparently, YouTube and Google ignored such requests.
The lawsuit states, “If YouTube had acted quickly to stop this to a reasonable extent, we would not be here now. YouTube, like Google, seems to rely on algorithms and no special effort requiring custom software employed quickly in these cases of criminal activity. If a crime is being committed, you must be able to reach humans capable of stopping it.”
YouTube offered the usual platitudes in response to the lawsuit. While not offering an official response, a statement was released.
YouTube said, “We take abuse of our platform seriously, and take action quickly when we detect violations of our policies, such as scams or impersonation.”
The lawsuit clearly lays the blame on the doorstep of Google and YouTube. It states, “Defendants’ failure to warn was willful, malicious, oppressive, fraudulent, and/or in reckless disregard of the Plaintiffs’ rights, thereby entitling Plaintiffs to punitive damages.”
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial, the awarding of punitive damages, and the removal of all Bitcoin scams using the likeness and name of Wozniak.