Legal Showdown: YouTube Loses Big As Apple Co-founder Prevails In Bitcoin Scam Suit

Steve Wozniak, who helped start Apple, won a big fight against YouTube. They used fake videos of him in a Bitcoin scam in 2020. The higher court said YouTube is responsible, even though the lower court said they weren’t.

A court in San Jose said YouTube can’t use a tricky law to avoid blame for a scam. The scam tricked people using a fake video of the Apple co-founder to steal money. Bloomberg told me about it.

The newest decision means Wozniak can keep suing the video streaming site. It might even lead to changing the federal law that shields sites like YouTube from being responsible for the videos people post.

The guy who helped start Apple and 17 others, like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Michael Dell, took YouTube and its big boss, Google, to court in 2020. They were upset because some videos on YouTube were fake and trying to trick people into a scam.

In the video, someone changed it by adding more words and images, saying you’d get free Bitcoin if you sent some Bitcoin to a certain address. They said you’d get double the money.

Bitcoin Scams Expose Platform Liability

Moreover, the new court decision is a big win for Wozniak and others. In 2022, a judge in Santa Clara County said that the companies were safe from blame under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The appeals court judges noticed that many well-liked YouTube channels sometimes get hacked to push scams. Google and YouTube are at fault for making things worse by giving verification badges to these hacked channels, which helps the scam spread.

The platform didn’t remove the verification badges when the channels began posting scam videos. One even got the badge while doing the scam.

So, the court said companies might not get shielded by Section 230. They played a part in the scam by confirming it.

Woznaik’s lawyer, Joe Cotchett, pointed out that the verdict shows how social media giants such as Google and YouTube must own up to their actions and can’t hide behind Section 230 to avoid responsibility.

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