Video site YouTube has had 18 lawsuits filed against it after the platform failed to remove Bitcoin scam videos featuring prominent celebrities likenesses.
Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, was one of 18 plaintiffs to file a lawsuit against the company seeking damages. YouTube has been told it must take down Bitcoin giveaway scams that use Wozniak’s name and likeness.
The videos request that users send Bitcoin to an account, then promising that Wozniak would repay twice as much in return.
YouTube responded the claims, stating: “We take the abuse of our platform seriously and take action quickly when we detect violations of our policies.”
The company has also been accused of being aware of the scams and taking no action to take the videos down whilst also profiting from advertising.
The lawsuit states: “Plaintiff Wozniak repeatedly has tried to get YouTube to stop this unauthorised 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 takes timely action to end this BITCOIN GIVEAWAY scam, YouTube repeatedly delayed or refused to do so.”
This latest Bitcoin scandal is reminiscent of a recent hack that targeted several prominent celebrities on Twitter.
Similar to the Wozniak posts, Tweets from high-profile figures, including Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and former US President Barack Obama asked users to send bitcoin to an address, where they would then receive double back in return.
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Hackers gained access to the back end of Twitter’s system through staff accounts to gain control of the accounts.
Twitter said the attack was highly coordinated and the attacker(s) then “used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf.”
This is also not the first time YouTube has been accused of allowing Bitcoin scams on it’s platform. In April, Ripple Labs Inc. sued the company for failing to stop scammers from posting fraudulent cryptocurrency giveaways asking users to send XRP to scam addresses.
The company said that the scam harmed its brand and the image of its CEO, Bradley Garlinghouse.