Apple's Steve Wozniak Sues YouTube Alleging Inaction On Bitcoin Fraud

Apple Inc AAPL co-founder Steve Wozniak is suing Alphabet Inc GOOGL GOOG subsidiary YouTube LLC, alleging his name and likeness was used for a Bitcoin giveaway scam, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

What Happened

Scammers reportedly used both the image and video of Wozniak to get the users of video streaming platform to send them bitcoins with an inducement that the Apple co-founder, who left the company in 1985, would double the sent amount, the lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Mateo County, California, alleged.

The complaint states that the names of other high-profile persons, such as Microsoft Corporation MSFT co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk, were also used by the perpetrators of the scam. 

Wozniak, along with 17 other complainants, is asking the court to order YouTube and its parent Alphabet to immediately remove the offending videos and issue warnings on the scam. They are also seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Why It Matters

The scam was similar in operation to the one that affected Twitter Inc’s TWTR platform, except no official accounts, including Wozniak's, are reported to be compromised.

The designer of the Apple-II computer claimed that YouTube was “unresponsive” on his repeated requests to remove the duplicitous videos, Bloomberg noted. The inventor said, by contrast, Twitter had acted quickly when a similar scam unfolded on its platform.

YouTube reportedly defended itself in a similar case by citing immunity under provisions of the Federal Communications Decency Act of 1996, which gives protection to platforms for content posted by their users.

In May, President Donald Trump signed an executive order after a spat with Twitter which targets the immunity of social media firms against lawsuits arising from third-party content.

Price Action

Apple shares closed nearly 0.3% higher at $389.09 on Wednesday and fell 0.2% in the after-hours session.

On the same day, Alphabet Class A shares closed 0.57% higher at $1,564.85 and Class B shares 0.65% higher at $1,568.49 respectively.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore on Flickr.

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