In brief

  • The CTO of Ripple has been kicked off of YouTube for impersonation.
  • Last week, Ripple filed a lawsuit against YouTube for failing to ban accounts that impersonated Ripple staff.
  • YouTube is home to fake accounts that offer scam XRP giveaways.

Just a week into Ripple’s lawsuit against YouTube over fake accounts, the video streaming site has reportedly banned Ripple’s CTO. The reason? For impersonating...himself.

Per David Schwartz, YouTube’s obstructive message reads thus: "Please be aware that you are prohibited from accessing, possessing or creating any other YouTube accounts." 

Schwartz reports that he was kicked off of the site for impersonation. Exactly whom Schwartz was impersonating is a matter even Schwartz is uncertain of. 

“Weirdly, YouTube just decided to suspend my channel (SJoelKatz) for impersonation. I wonder who they think I was impersonating,” he said.

YouTube is rife with accounts purporting to be Ripple employees. Plenty of fake accounts represent the company’s CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, many with hundreds of thousands of subscribers. 

These ersatz accounts churn out videos asking their viewers to send XRP to an address; those behind the videos promise to send far more back in return. Sometimes phishing attacks are used to take over popular YouTube accounts, and similar videos are temporarily published.

In response, Ripple filed a lawsuit last week asking the site to take more action against these videos. “Social media companies have failed to police their platforms from being abused by the entirely preventable imposter giveaway scams,” tweeted (the real) Garlinghouse last Tuesday.  

Youtube was singled out “because their platform is the epicenter for imposter scams, and they’ve done next to nothing in response to our constant takedown requests,” added Garlinghouse. Any damage or settlement money will go toward restoring victims with lost cash.

Garlinghouse’s “call to action” does not address the other deceptive social media campaign: the XRP Army. The XRP Army comprises thousands of fake Twitter accounts, each with a considerable number of subscribers, that rally to the XRP cause. The bots proclaim the virtues of the cryptocurrency and crush dissent, while making Ripple executives appear more popular on Twitter.

Geoff Golberg, the data sleuth who tracks the army, told Decrypt in January that Twitter’s attempts to thin out the army have been “superficial. The XRP Army still exists on a massive scale,” he said. “This has not put a dent in it at all.” 

But that has changed in recent months. Over on Telegram, 63% of the Ripple community has left. If YouTube takes down its fake accounts, will there be any of it left?

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