Alphabet Inc. GOOGL GOOG subsidiary YouTube has been sued by a blockchain-based payment network company for its alleged inaction against cryptocurrency giveaway scams on its platform.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ripple, said that giveaway scams related to its cryptocurrency XRP are widespread across social media platforms, including those of Facebook Inc. FB, Instagram, and Twitter Inc. TWTR, but the problem is especially bad on YouTube.
The practice of using both verified and unverified accounts by scammers asking users to send them cryptocurrency for a higher amount in return has long been a problem in the industry.
"It's time to end this unacceptable behavior and protect our friends, family members and consumers everywhere," Ripple said. "YouTube and other big technology and social media platforms must be held accountable for not implementing sufficient processes for fighting these scams."
YouTube's inertia is indicative of an industry-wide problem of a lack of accountability. Victims are forced to jump through hoops to report these scams, and oftentimes that doesn't even work - ex: when @Instagram told me I wasn't being impersonated (3/4) https://t.co/ILhS0AcPb2— Brad Garlinghouse (@bgarlinghouse) April 21, 2020
The lawsuit alleges that YouTube's absence of action has inadvertedly enabled third parties to harm the reputation of Ripple, CEO Bradley Garlinghoue, and holders of XRP cryptocurrency.
In a statement to Reuters, YouTube spokesperson Alex Joseph said that the company takes abuse of the platform seriously and acts "quickly when we detect violations of our policies, such as scams or impersonation."
Why It Matters
Ripple's lawsuit has rekindled an old debate about the responsibility of technology giants for the content that third-party users post on their platforms.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gives the companies immunity from actions arising out of such abuse, but the Department of Justice earlier in February put the law up for debate.
Alphabet Class A shares closed 3.9% lower at $1,212.16 on Tuesday and Class C shares closed 4% lower at $1,216.34. XRP traded 0.4% higher at $0.1847 at press time.
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