Steve Wozniak sues YouTube over Bitcoin scam videos

YouTube on a smartphone

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was one of 18 plaintiffs to file a lawsuit against YouTube on Tuesday.

The lawsuit seeks punitive damages, a trial by jury and demands YouTube remove all Bitcoin giveaway scams using Wozniak’s name and likeness. The lawsuit also alleges YouTube is aware of the Bitcoin giveaway scams plaguing its platform but has yet to take the videos down.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in California Superior Court, YouTube has been hosting, promoting and profiting from videos posted to the platform claiming Wozniak is hosting a Bitcoin promotion.

The videos entice users to send Bitcoin to the given address. In return, “Wozniak” will give them double the amount. The suit alleges the image and likeness of Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Michael Dell have been exploited in these scams too.

The lawsuit states: "Plaintiff Wozniak repeatedly has tried to get YouTube to stop this unauthorized use of his name and likeness that has been used to defraud so many Youtube users. But YouTube has been unresponsive. 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.”

In a statement made Thursday, YouTube said: “We take abuse of our platform seriously, and take action quickly when we detect violations of our policies.”

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse alleged the same misconduct Wozniak cited in his lawsuit in a lawsuit he filed against YouTube and Google in April. In response to Garlinghouse’s lawsuit, YouTube said it cannot be held liable for the scam videos under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The Bitcoin world is no stranger to fraudulent giveaways, but they’re getting more attention lately. Last week, hackers infiltrated several high-profile Twitter accounts and used them to promote fraudulent Bitcoin giveaways. Twitter acknowledged the incident shortly after it began and subsequently locked all verified accounts while it investigated the breach.