- Elon Musk dissed YouTube for "nonstop scam ads" on Tuesday via Twitter.
- Over the past few years, YouTube has been hit with a series of cryptocurrency scams.
- Musk has been critical of Twitter for bots and fake accounts amid his plans to purchase the site.
Elon Musk took a jab at YouTube on Tuesday, calling the site out for "nonstop scam ads."
The Tesla CEO posted a series of tweets about the company, including a meme mocking YouTube and claiming it censors things like swearing but turns a blind eye to scam ads.
Despite Musk's dig at YouTube's policy regarding swearing on its site, the company does not bar swearing on its site. However, YouTube's guidelines encourage creators to avoid language it deems inappropriate for advertising purposes. The site says it cuts back on allowing creators to monetize videos with "frequent use of strong profanity ot vulgarity," but the policy does not apply to music videos.
A spokesperson for Google, YouTube's parent company, told Insider its policy prohibits ads designed to deceive or mislead users.
"We have a range of ads policies that are designed to combat scams and other deceptive practices by bad actors, including policies that prohibit ads impersonating other brands and trademark abuse," the spokesperson said. "These policies apply to all Google Ads, including those on YouTube, and we enforce them vigorously – in 2021 alone we blocked or removed 175 million ads across our platform for violating our misrepresentation and trademark policies."
Over the past few years, YouTube has been hit with a series of cryptocurrency scams. In 2020, YouTube faced at least 18 lawsuits involving cryptocurrency scams. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak sued YouTube in 2020 for allegedly failing to curb scam ads that included his likeness. Wozniak lost the lawsuit a year later after a judge determined YouTube and Google were not responsible for users' posts.
Some scams on YouTube have targeted Musk fans directly. Last year, a series of ads promoting a fake SpaceX digital coin that was falsely claimed to be created by Musk appeared on YouTube ahead of the billionaire's "Saturday Night Live" appearance. Tenable, a risk management company, said it conducted a study that found that scam accounts on YouTube were able to steal about $9 million using the ads for the fake SpaceX coin.
YouTube has taken an active stance when it comes to policing misinformation in the past. The company was one of the first to ban former president Donald Trump from its site during the Capitol Siege, but fact-checkers have said the company is not doing enough. In January, over 80 fact-checking groups from around the world called on YouTube to do more to combat disinformation. They said the company was "allowing its platform to be weaponized."
While Musk has said he is against policing online outside of what is dictated by law, the Tesla CEO has continually accused Twitter of not doing enough to cut off bots and fake accounts on its site. On Monday, the billionaire — who waived his right to perform due diligence on Twitter as the deal quickly took shape — warned the company via a letter sent by his lawyers that he might try to walk away from his $44 billion offer to buy Twitter because he believes the company is "actively resisting" his efforts to determine how many fake accounts are on the site.
Twitter has said it plans to enforce the deal Musk previously agreed to.