The spree of cryptocurrency-based scams on centralized social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube has seen billions of dollars in funds stolen. Most of these scams pretend to be either established crypto companies, or a well-renowned figure within the crypto space or outside.
As a result, these platforms often censor crypto-based content, including advertisements, and this is the basis of a new lawsuit against internet giant Facebook and Google.
Filed in the Federal Court of New South Wales on August 14 by law firm JPB Liberty, the class-action lawsuit targets Facebook and Google for their cryptocurrency ad ban back in 2018.
JPB argues that the ban put a stop to the initial coin offering (ICO) market and caused financial damage to the wider cryptocurrency industry. According to a press release shared with The Daily Chain:
“On 30 January and 14 March 2018, Facebook and Google announced their respective Ad Bans. With each
announcement the cryptocurrency markets plunged: 53% for Facebook and 30% for Google. The Crypto
Winter had arrived, courtesy of a Big Tech Cartel.”
“The Court filings allege that the Ad Ban was a blatantly anti-competitive attack by virtual monopolists on
their nascent competitors in the blockchain space. It did immense harm to cryptocurrency investors and the
huge number of legitimate projects trying to create a better, decentralized, internet. Banning an entire
industry from its main modes of advertising dramatically cut demand, strangling investment and adoption –
the markets reacted accordingly,” the release adds.
Andrew Hamilton, CEO of JPB liberty, claims that the tech giants come together as a cartel to launch the cryptocurrency ad ban to kill the competition coming from the blockchain sector.
Until now, the lawsuit has managed to garner more than $700 million in claims from the crypto community, and companies and individuals can continue signing up for the suit until August 21. Hamilton believes that the total value of claims could grow to as much as $300 billion.
The no-win, no-fee case was primarily funded by friends and family of Hamilton, along with institutional litigation funders, venture capital funds, and “ideologically aligned investors.”
If the case is won, claimants will receive 70% of any future settlement, while the case’s funeral will reap the remaining 30%.
According to information shared with The Daily Chain, the firm seeks a complete lifting of the crypto ad ban, damages for losses in cryptocurrencies, a public apology to the crypto industry, and free advertising on Facebook, Google, and Twitter for all crypto projects harmed by the ban for as long as the ban has been in place.
YouTube failed to take action
“There are impersonation scams of crypto all over YouTube — impersonating the Ripple CEO, the Binance CEO,” Hamilton said.
“Youtube has failed to ban actual impersonation scams while banning the genuine company,” referring to legal action taken by Binance against YouTube.
“CZ, the CEO of Binance, has said: ‘we, Binance, can’t advertise on YouTube […] but you are letting scammers using my image and advertise, to not just post on YouTube, but advertise on Google AdWords.’”
Hamilton added that research has shown most of these scams to be impersonations where scammers claim to be associated with the blockchain industry, highlighting the recent surge in scams of this nature.
“We want to accelerate the transition from the centralised, censored, privacy-breaching and anti-competitive Web 2.0 dystopia created by Facebook, Google, Twitter (and others) to the better, decentralised world of Web 3.0, where users own and are paid fairly for their content, security is at the bedrock, privacy is under user control and moderation of content is community based rather than centralised authoritarian censorship,” Hamilton told The Daily Chain.
As previously reported by The Daily Chain, YouTube is also amidst two other lawsuits coming from Ripple CEO Brad Garling House and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak along with 17 other plaintiffs who were also affected by scammers impersonating them to promote crypto scams.