Judge Says Apple Co-Founder Wozniak Can’t Sue YouTube Thanks to Section 230

June 3rd, 2021 3:19 PM

Big Tech took on Big Tech and lost. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak sued YouTube for what Bloomberg called “a bogus bitcoin giveaway.” A judge said his case could not overcome the immunity provided by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. 

Wozniak sued YouTube over “videos that used his image to promote a bogus bitcoin giveaway,” according to Bloomberg News. Judge Sunil R. Kulkarni ruled that YouTube was protected by the “immunity provided by Section 230,” Bloomberg said, and “gave Wozniak 30 days to try to revise his complaint.” 

The ruling meant that YouTube could not be held liable for the alleged Bitcoin scam yet. “YouTube and its parent, Google LLC, are protected by the federal law that shields internet platforms from responsibility for content posted by users, a California state judge said in a tentative ruling Wednesday,” according to Bloomberg News. 

The alleged scam used images of Wozniak and other famous tech executives to convince victims of its authenticity. “The scam uses images and video of STEVE WOZNIAK to convince YOUTUBE users that he is hosting a live ‘BTC’ or ‘BITCOIN GIVEAWAY’ event and that, for a limited time, any user who sends in their bitcoin will receive twice as much back. But when users transfer their cryptocurrency, in an irreversible transaction, they receive nothing back,” according to the lawsuit

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit also claimed that YouTube took no action against the alleged BitCoin giveaway, and even claimed that images appeared in advertisements on the platform: “With full knowledge of this scam, YOUTUBE resisted taking the scam videos down, allowed them to multiply, and contributed to the scam by making them appear legitimate. YOUTUBE and GOOGLE took the further step of promoting and profiting from these scams by providing paid advertising that targeted users who were most likely to be harmed.” 

YouTube reportedly would not remove the supposed Bitcoin scam which purportedly resulted in users “being defrauded of millions of dollars of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.” Meanwhile, the platform regularly silences conservative voices. YouTube deleted a video of a Kansas school board meeting in which parents demanded that the school district remove its mask mandate. YouTube also reportedly banned the channel of the pro-life, nonprofit outlet LifeSiteNews in February 2021. 

Section 230 has remained a hot-button issue given the protection it has afforded online platforms. But due to constant lopsided censorship, conservatives have spoken out. MRC president Brent Bozell argued that there must be “serious discussions to amend, or altogether remove the Section 230 protections” afforded Big Tech.

Some lawmakers have also begun to question the law’s effectiveness. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked in a video about Section 230 from The Federalist Society, “Who in their right mind would want all political discourse in America governed by a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires with unfettered power to silence anyone?”

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.