Tech celebrity Steve Wozniak has announced a lawsuit against YouTube and Google, stating that they failed to remove videos that used his likeness to trick innocent users into giving away cryptocurrency.
Steve Wozniak, one of the two computer whizzes behind Apple, has set his lawyers upon Google and YouTube after they failed to take down videos that were using his image to scam people.
The lawsuit alleges that videos scammed users into sending bitcoin to fake accounts and used images of tech magnates such as Elon Musk
, Bill Gates
, and Wozniak to gain credibility.
In a statement cited by media, Wozniak stated that “The allegations paint a picture of an algorithm-driven tech giant that does not respond to victims,” and that YouTube used him in scamming innocent people.
Wozniak was one of 18 plaintiffs that filed the lawsuit on Tuesday asking that all bitcoin scams be removed from the YouTube platform, particularly those using Wozniak’s name or likeness.
“YouTube has featured a steady stream of scam videos and promotions that falsely use images and videos of Plaintiff Steve Wozniak, and other famous tech entrepreneurs, and that have defrauded YouTube out of millions of dollars,” the complaint said.
Bitcoin made headlines last week for being used in a prolific Twitter scam. In it, billionaires Elon Musk
, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates
were among prominent US figures targeted by hackers in order to request cryptocurrency donations.
“Everyone is asking me to give back,” a tweet from Gates’ account said. “You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”
In a statement to the court, Wozniak’s lawyers praised Twitter for acting “swiftly and decisively” to shut down malicious accounts and “protect its users from the scam” that infiltrated many blue-tick users’ accounts and posted a crypto-giveaway message.
In contrast, not only have Google and YouTube failed to act with the same swiftness, but the complaint alleges that both “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.”
While no comment has been made publicly by either Google or YouTube, a similar case earlier this week saw the video platform sued for peddling crypto-scams on its site.
In a statement on July 21, YouTube’s legal team said in its defense that it was not liable for any content on its platform, scams included, making it clear where YouTube sees its jurisdiction and responsibilities begin and end.