The financial markets are teeming with already-illegal behaviours: Credit-rating companies enriching themselves to deny credit to poor people. Financial institutions selling subprime mortgages to people with poor credit. Banks siphoning off cash from black and Latino communities.
The internet, especially social media, has been a great tool for banking and finance malfeasance—as well as the internet’s rightwing echo chamber. Those who claim most to oppose financial advertising have little exposure to its insidious harms. At the same time, they lack the resources to educate the public about the problem, so they have little to advocate about it. As it stands, the online housing market in the US is not regulated at all, and in the best case, is unregulated. Online consumer credit screening agencies, such as Lending for Good and Lending Habits, troll local neighborhoods for potential borrowers, offering credit scores on the way down. Their administrators may use race, ethnic origin, or income level to reduce their applicant pool to people with low credit. Sites that list real estate listings based on immigration status or income can use that data to create no-credit rental agreements and “master rentals” to target immigrants with higher-priced homes. (Consider New York’s housing court.)
The author is the author of Stolen Souls. The views here are his own.