SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Blockchain firm Ripple sued Alphabet Inc’s YouTube on Tuesday, alleging the video-sharing platform failed to protect consumers from cryptocurrency “giveaway” scams that use fake social media profiles to dupe victims into sending money.
The company says scammers on YouTube have been impersonating Ripple and its chief executive, Brad Garlinghouse, to bait viewers into sending them thousands of dollars worth of XRP, a cryptocurrency championed by Ripple, according to a court filing.
The scammers promise to send back up to 5 million XRP, worth nearly $1 million, but victims who participate in the fake “giveaways” never receive any money in return, said the filing.
Ripple says it wants the case to be a “call to action” for the social media industry to stop their platforms from being overrun by fake accounts and misinformation.
YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Founded in 2012, Ripple is one of the best known companies that develop so-called blockchain technology, or the system underpinning cryptocurrencies. The company develops blockchain systems to help financial services firms carry out cross-border payments, using XRP.
Its filing, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, says YouTube’s failure to address the “pervasive and injurious fraud” has harmed the reputation of both Ripple and Garlinghouse.
YouTube also awarded a “verification badge” to a hacked channel displaying a photo of Garlinghouse as its profile picture, falsely indicating to viewers that the account was legitimate, the filing said.