LendingTree Pressures Blogger To Remove Comments

from the section-230-anyone? dept

You may have heard the story earlier this week about how LendingTree had a security breach as employees were apparently handing out company passwords to mortgage firms, allowing them to access customer data directly. LendingTree is now suing the mortgage firms involved. However, LendingTree is apparently trying to crack down on some of the discussion about all of this. On one blog that wrote about the story, a commenter left a comment alleging that LendingTree doesn't actually "let banks compete" but has its own lending center -- which seems to be based on a class action lawsuit that was filed against LendingTree a couple years ago.

However, LendingTree is now putting pressure on bloggers to remove such comments, mentioning that they're defamatory. Of course, thanks to section 230 of the CDA, a blogger is not responsible for defamatory content left by others (they are still responsible for their own defamatory content, of course). While it doesn't appear that LendingTree's legal notes have entirely reached the level of a cease & desist (more like a legalistic nudge), it does sound like they've convinced some other bloggers to remove content that need not be removed. And, of course, by claiming that the content is defamatory, it may scare some bloggers who don't understand their section 230 safe harbors to feel obligated to remove the content.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Poster, 25 Apr 2008 @ 3:00pm

    Someone should post that comment here.

    You know, for reference.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Supero, 25 Apr 2008 @ 3:14pm

    Why not?

    In total:

    LT was not hacked. LT has a web access system and high paid LOs making an average of $7,500 per Interest Only ARM Loan for LTs internal lending division, LT Loans. To understand LT Loans and the level of senior management driven crime, Google for the lawsuit where LendingTree promises “When banks compete you win”. This lawsuit stems from the reality that the consumer’s identity info went only to their own internal lender LT Loans. LT Loans then displayed wholesaler names as lenders to the consumer and closed loans internally with LT Loans.
    Yes the LendingTree Senior Team knew there was risk in letting LT Loans manage their own leads without matching to lenders on their network as the original business model was founded on. Each person on the senior team had a million dollar+ bonus based upon LT Loan Revenue- would you imagine the smiles arround the table in senior team meetings when it was decided weekly that it is ok to match only to LT Loans with million dollar+ bonuses?
    Note that the CEOs on both coasts and most of the VPs on that senior team have decided to pursue family interests after their bonus payouts in cash and stock incentives. The senior team laid off people who managed their systems, and then their senior team was negligent in managing consumer data. Loan Officers stopped making high commissions and sold consumer identities to multiple dishonest lenders. LendingTree Senior Executives did not deactivate passwords to the systems that hold the 70+ consumer data fields including your address, your cell phone number, and your social security number.
    Do you think while having weekly senior team meetings each and every senior executive with a bonus based upon margins at Lending Tree Loans choose not see the risk in sending consumer information to an internal entity without monitoring simple password deactivation? For more than 6 months, 10,000 new consumer records a day- the senior team continued to allow LT Loans to operate without shutting down passwords in their legacy systems.
    Don’t believe it?
    Here is the still public link to the LendingTree consumer data- [REDACTED AT THE REQUEST OF LENDING TREE LEGAL REPRESENTATION] link to the FBI Mortgage Fraud Division. http://www.fbi.gov/page2/march07/mortgage030907.htm
    https://tips.fbi.gov/ Identity Theft Fraud for Profit and by Senior LendingTree Executives is a possible topic. The FBI has a field office in Charlotte about 30 minutes from LendingTree so take the 3 minutes to file an online form. Of course this is just my opinion…

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Matt, 25 Apr 2008 @ 3:20pm

    yes, the link please

    Maybe someone should post lendingtree's public link which was apparently still active and the blogger wussed out yet again.

    Reminds me of the line from the guy who stood up to monster cable - One part of what he said still stands out in the same way and reflects on why some blogs should be embarassed: The better long-term view would have been to fight against vexatious litigation as a matter of principle.

    Or you can just roll over and take it with glee, as the person hosting the "Defamatory" comment has already proven victim to.

    Maybe there needs to be like a blogging alliance with its own repertoire of lawyers to protect em, much in the same way the corporation is going after individual bloggers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Darren, 25 Apr 2008 @ 3:24pm

    More Blogs

    Here is a link to one persons experience with Lending Tree. http://inkblots.markwoodman.com/2005/05/24/cutting-down-the-lending-tree/

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Jake, 25 Apr 2008 @ 3:36pm

    I don't know the full story here, but I think the guy's overreacting a bit. It sounds like a polite request by someone slightly irritated about being told 'no' the first time, despite having asked nicely. I can see his point to a certain extent, however, in that the comments in question have yet to be proven as defamatory in court; if this exchange had taken place after LendingTree had one a libel lawsuit against the guy who posted it would be a different story.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2008 @ 5:12pm

    Lending tree - what dumb name.
    It's not like money grows on trees. Money is made out of trees, some petroleum products, and other junk.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Cynic, 25 Apr 2008 @ 6:21pm

    And apparently Lending Tree is another company that hasn't heard of the Streisand effect (i.e., the opposite of "you couldn't pay for that kind of publicity" equals "you have to pay through your nose trying to undo the effects of that kind of negative publicity"). I'll tell two people, and they'll tell two people, etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Dan, 26 Apr 2008 @ 8:02am

    "And, of course, by claiming that the content is defamatory, it may scare some bloggers who don't understand their section 230 safe harbors to feel obligated to remove the content."

    Section 230 doesn't matter. It's too expensive to fight a lawsuit. Unless of course, your the 'Brew Blog'...lol

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2008 @ 9:51am


    Why do you even have to fight a lawsuit? Just let them sue you and when they drag you to court, give up. If the system doesn't let you work that way, then it is broken. (this is an honest question)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Max Powers, 27 Apr 2008 @ 5:00pm

    Sue Me, Please!

    I'm a guy with a small website for consumers and I would love to receive a cease and detest letter so I could scan it, post it, then let them drag me to court.

    I would get a ton of publicity for my site, them let them find out that I'm "sue proof" and start over with another name and webhost should I lose.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    KEVIN, 5 May 2008 @ 12:07pm

    lending tree

    My wife and I received a letter from Lending Tree stating their employee's sold information, their cooperating with authorities, and their suing baks and mortgage co.'s that got this info. We were told to get our free credit report put a fraud alert on in with the credit reporting agencies and just have the agencies take the false info. out if their is any (LIKE IT'S THAT EASY) Does anyone no if we have any recourse against their flagrant breach of info.? Thank you for any help,

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    george, 20 May 2008 @ 6:00pm

    Possible class action

    Contact Finkelstein-Thompson at the link below for more information on a possible class action. http://www.finkelsteinthompson.com/investigation/lendingtree_data.php

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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