Apple co-founder sues YouTube over cryptocurrency scams

bitcoin with colorful background

YouTube faces lawsuits as complaints pile up over billions lost in video giveaway cryptocurrency scams. Prosecutors argue the company has taken a lax stance towards hackers who have been gaming the system. 

For some time now, hackers have been hijacking high-level YouTube accounts, imitating their CEOs, and enacting giveaway scams which entice users to deposit cryptocurrency into fake accounts. According to reports, users have lost billions of bitcoin (BTC), emptying their pockets into giveaways that never took place. 

Ripple Labs CEO Brad Garlinghouse issued a complaint against YouTube in April, alleging the company has been too slow in their reaction to the scandals. In his declaration, Garlinghouse explains, “faced with a pervasive Scam, YouTube chose, and continues to choose, inaction.” His claims against the company have inspired others to jump onboard and voice their own grievances.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak brought his own allegations against the service shortly after. His formal complaint includes 17 other victims from around the world, all demanding YouTube take responsibility for their slow response to scamming on their platform. 

In a report released July 21, Joe Crochett, a representative from the Apple legal team explains, “When Twitter was hit with a massive hack of 130 celebrity accounts, they were quick to shut down the Bitcoin scam in a day. In a stark contrast, the Complaint alleges that YouTube knowingly allowed the Bitcoin scam to go on for months, promoted it, and profited from it by selling targeted advertising.”

Crypotcurrency scams the new normal

Cryptocurrency scams are nothing new. They’ve plagued social platforms for years now, but Wozniak’s legal team alleges a failure on YouTube’s part as compared to other companies who have also had issues with scammers in the past. 

YouTube has defended their handling of the BTC scams, saying We take abuse of our platform seriously, and take action quickly when we detect violations of our policies, such as scams or impersonation.”

Their Youtube Community Guidelines enforcement page also read, “In response to COVID-19, we’ve taken steps to protect our extended workforce and reduce in-office staffing. As a result, we are temporarily relying more on technology to help with some of the work normally done by human reviewers.”

The company has been running strong since its debut in 2005 and is now owned by Google. With the pandemic disrupting everyone this year, it doesn’t look like the 15-year old streaming platform is slowing down anytime soon.


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