Ripple filed a lawsuit on Tuesday that accuses streaming giant YouTube of turning a blind eye to scams that have defrauded consumers.
In a complaint filed in San Francisco federal court, CEO Brad Garlinghouse and Ripple accuse YouTube of damaging their brand and reputations, and demand an unspecified amount of financial compensation. The complaint also asks the court to forbid YouTube from profiting from the scams, or from allowing them to continue.
The alleged scams in question resemble those found on other social media platforms, and typically use the image of prominent executives, including Bill Gates and Richard Branson, to offer “giveaways.” In most cases, the scammers ask the victims to send a small sum in order to receive a larger windfall – only to abscond with whatever funds they receive.
In the case of YouTube, the complaint cites numerous instances where hackers took over the channels of legitimate creators and replaced their videos with ones advertising Ripple-related scams. The Ripple videos often show media interviews with Garlinghouse lifted from reputable sources, and overlaid with invitations to participate in “giveaways” of the cryptocurrency XRP.
According to the complaint, YouTube fails to adequately restrict the spread of such videos, and even profits from them by letting the scammers pay to promote them. These promotions allegedly involve the scammers buying keywords like “Ripple” and “Brad Garlinghouse” in order to target the videos to people searching for such terms.
The complaint adds that Ripple employs a third party firm to track such scams, and instruct social media companies to remove such scams. Yet, despite sending hundreds of notices to YouTube, Ripple says the media giant has responded slowly or not at all.
“YouTube regularly touts its robust tools for self-regulating content on its platform, which purportedly include “cutting-edge machine learning technology” and a sprawling network of human reviewers,” the complaint reads. “But in this case, faced with a pervasive Scam, YouTube chose, and continues to choose, inaction.”
A spokesperson for YouTube, which is owned by Google, provided the following statement, “We take abuse of our platform seriously, and take action quickly when we detect violations of our policies, such as scams or impersonation.”
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