Fake ‘Apple Crypto Event 2022’ attracts 70k viewers

Apple held its “Far out” special event yesterday to announce the iPhone 14 lineup and a number of other things. Some people tuning in to watch the event on YouTube, however, saw an entirely different event: a fake “Apple Crypto Event 2022” featuring clips of Tim Cook talking about cryptocurrencies with “URGENT NEWS” to share.

The stream was first spotted by The Verge and YouTube quickly removed the stream once The Verge’s story had been published. While many people would have noticed this fake stream’s red flags right away, that wasn’t the case for everyone. In fact, the stream at one point had tens of thousands of people watching.

The stream was titled “Apple Event Live. Ceo of Apple Tim Cook: Apple & Metaverse in 2022.” In actuality, the video was ripped from an interview Cook did with CNN back in 2018. The host of the stream simply added logos for Bitcoin and Ethereum to the video and covered the CNN logo with the “URGENT NEWS” banner.

The obvious context here is that interest in Apple and Tim Cook was incredibly high yesterday, and this channel saw an opportunity to cash in on that attention. Apple was holding its “Far out” press event to announce the iPhone 14 and Tim Cook was also set to be interviewed at the Code Conference a few hours later.

It seems that one of the reasons this fake live stream garnered as many viewers as it did is YouTube’s recommendations algorithm. The description of the video was full of keywords relevant to Apple and new products like the iPhone 14. The Verge’s Jay Peters explains:

I came upon this stream because it was recommended on my YouTube homepage — that might have been in part because I’ve been watching Apple videos from the event throughout the day. When I first started watching the fake stream, there were around 16K viewers, and right before first publishing this story, that count was nearly 70K.

Clicking any of the links in the video’s description took you to some scammy cryptocurrency websites where users were encouraged to “buy” things like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Presumably, the streamer was hoping that viewers would see Apple’s apparent “Crypto Event 2022” as a reason to think Bitcoin’s value would increase.

Unsurprisingly, this is not the first time crypto scammers have used Apple events as a ploy to get attention. We saw a similar situation last year where a fake Apple event stream on YouTube attracted over 30,000 views.

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