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Steve Wozniak Sues YouTube - Its A Bitcoin Thing

Scam Alert

August 6, 2020 | 

JOHN K MWANIKI |  0 Comments| 

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has sued YouTube for wrongful use of his images and data to scam Bitcoin users. He claims that YouTube has allowed several accounts to run scam ads using his pictures. The giant video hosting platform also benefits from the videos. 

It is a joint suit with seven others. They claim the false ads have damaged their reputation and want YouTube to act immediately. Wozniak wants YouTube to pull down the videos. Afterwards, the media should also pay him damages. 

The lawsuit is before the Superior Court of the State of California. 

There has been a surge in the Bitcoin scams in recent times. Most of the schemes use famous figures for Bitcoin giveaways

Wozniak claims YouTube hosted such videos without his permission. 

Such videos have also led to the loss of money by YouTube users. A study by Whale Alert established that the users lost $24million in such scams in the first half of 2020. Quite a contrast from the $14million lost over the past 3.5 years combined. 

How Does the Scam Work?

The scam works such that it requests people to send Bitcoin to Wozniak address. He will then double the Bitcoin in return. It provides a fake Bitcoin address to send the coin. The sender then receives nothing in return. They end up believing Wozniak conned them. The scams are in both videos and ads. 

Still, YouTube is not the only affected social media platform. The past weeks have seen Twitter grapple with the same issue. Hackers targeted top twitter accounts to display the Bitcoin giveaways. Some of the accounts were those of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, and Kanye West. 

Twitter swung into action so fast to manage the crisis. It had to stop tweeting from verified accounts for around two hours. It then promised to do everything possible to ensure user security. Still, by this time, Twitter users had already lost money. Reports estimate the funds lost to be around $280000.

Most people believe Twitter handled the situation better than YouTube. The video company, however, claims it did its best to control the scam. The spokesperson of the company claims they have pulled down over 2.3 million videos. They had also closed around 1.7 million accounts in the first quarter of the year. Most of the scams involved the Bitcoin giveaways. 

There is also a concern due to the reduced number of videos deleted by YouTube. In contrast to the scams that are increasing. Unlike in 2019, when the site brought down 2 million videos over the same period, it is 400,000. These are videos flagged by user complaints or detected by the company. 

The company credits the decline due to workforce changes. The spread of Covid-19 has affected the workplace. The enforcement page claims it now relies more on technology. Some things can pass the tech, unlike with the human eye.

Is YouTube Liable for the Bitcoin Scams? 

Wozniak's suit is not the first time YouTube is facing a legal tussle. The first significant case was against the CEO of Ripple. The CEO also had alleged users of the platform created fake ads using his images and name without permission. It led to users losing money in the process. 

YouTube has always argued it is not liable for the damages. The lawyers claim the platform does not create any of the content. The video-sharing platform relies on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The clause protects the publishing platform from third party content infringements. 

It applies that only the content creators are liable and not YouTube. The lawyers also argue the site has a role in verifying content. Still, that does not transfer the responsibility from the content creator. There is also no evidence that YouTube encourages or solicited for the content. 

Even though the law shields YouTube and other social media channels, it is facing growing opposition. Most people are arguing for a change in the rules. That they were made when people were not aware of how much the site could be misused. 

How to Avoid Bitcoin Scams from YouTube

Even though social media control the platforms, they cannot spot all videos. It means that even after the suing, there will still be other scams. Users must take precautions to stay safe. 

There is a need for due diligence before sending coins to any address. There are already different ways to determine the legitimacy of Bitcoin addresses.

The first place to check is the Bitcoin Abuse alert. It is a popular website with data on the addresses used by hackers and criminals. The site allows you to search for the presence of a scam address. It also allows you to report one or monitor the reporting database. 

The site provides all the data about a suspect address. It displays how many times it is reported and the last report date. It also shows the number of transactions and the Bitcoin received. The data is so detailed that you can track all sales on the address. 

The other option to consider is the Scam Alert. The site is a product of Whale Alert. It seeks to make trading in the crypto world safe. Users get to report any theft, scam, or any fraudulent activity on the site. 

The site informs the user if the address is present on the site for a scam. It also shows the frequency of the reports and the associated reports. The site goes way past just the Bitcoin scam addresses. It also looks into Ponzi schemes, ransomware, and any other Bitcoin theft. 

Also, for now, Scam alert ranks YouTube as the most affected platform. Most of the fake Bitcoin giveaways ads are generated from the video platform. The most successful scam is the Elon Mask free Bitcoin giveaway with millions.

Bottom Line 

The lawsuit by Wozniak is a significant step in crypto safety management. Even though the law protects YouTube, there is a need for review. Otherwise, users still need to keep vigilant. Only send assets to verified accounts. Also, do due diligence before sending the coins. 

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