A recent court ruling said that video hosting giant YouTube is not responsible for cryptocurrency-related scams posted on its platform.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Sunil Kulkarnia said in a tentative ruling Wednesday that YouTube and its parent firm Google are protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — a federal law shielding internet platforms from responsibility for content posted by users.
Wozniak sued YouTube in July last year over a typical bogus crypto giveaway that stated that anyone who sends cryptocurrency to a certain address will receive more cryptocurrency in return. The Apple co-founder argued that YouTube not only failed to remove the fraudulent ads but “materially contributed” to the scam by selling targeted ads driving traffic to the videos and falsely verifying the YouTube channels that carried the videos.
“If YouTube had acted quickly to stop this to a reasonable extent, we would not be here now. What human would see posts like these and not ban them as criminals immediately?” he said. In the suit, Wozniak reportedly noted that similar crypto scams on YouTube also capitalized on other tech celebrities like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
However, Judge Kulkarnia said that those factors were not enough to challenge the immunity provided by Section 230. The judge gave Wozniak 30 days to try to revise his complaint.
Wozniak is not the first entrepreneur to lose his battle against bogus YouTube ads. Last July, YouTube lawyers filed a dismissal bid in a similar case brought by major crypto firm Ripple Labs, arguing that the platform was not liable for any content — including scams — provided by third parties.
The latest court ruling comes the same day Google overturned its 2018 policy banning crypto exchanges from using its advertising services.