The Apple co-founder has alleged that the video service has for months ignored fraudsters who have been using his name, photos, and videos on its platform to run a phoney Bitcoin scam aimed at stealing money from unsuspecting people.
Accusation of ignoring Bitcoin scam involving Wozniak
In the lawsuit, Wozniak's lawyers allege that a Bitcoin scam similar to the one that hit Twitter has been doing rounds on YouTube, tricking people into paying money — by using the name and likeness of Woz.
They claim that these con artists have been active for months, but the video platform has not taken any action, allowing them to proliferate publicly.
Here's how scammers used Wozniak's name, according to the lawsuit
"Scammers used images and video of Wozniak, who left Apple in 1985, to convince YouTube users that he was hosting a live giveaway and anyone who sent him Bitcoins will get double the number back. But when users transfer their cryptocurrency, they receive nothing back."
Along with Wozniak, other tech moguls, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla's boss Elon Musk, have also been used in the same YouTube scam, the lawsuit, which was first reported by Bloomberg, notes.
The case has been filed in the state court in San Mateo County on behalf of Wozniak and 17 other alleged victims of the scam.
So far, YouTube has not commented on the matter or clarified what it is doing to prevent this and other similar scams (if any).
"YouTube has been unapologetically hosting, promoting, and directly profiting from similar scams," the lawsuit alleges, noting that the company has also been "unresponsive" on Wozniak's repeated requests to launch a crackdown on the Bitcoin scams involving him.
Wozniak and others have asked the court to take note of this issue and order YouTube's holding company, Google, and its parent, Alphabet, to immediately remove the fraudulent videos and inform the public about the Bitcoin scam in question.
Plus, they also seek an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages from the video platform.