HomeEquity Bank Turns To Censorship - Far Too Little, and Much Too Late
A Pathetic and Futile Attempt to Silence the Truth
Last night, July 22, 2022, we were advised by Facebook that the HomeEquity Bank had filed a copyright complaint against several of our posts, with the goal being to hide them from the public and their existing and potential clients. This must be the weakest and most pathetic action ever taken by a bank to silence the truth and stop public questions about their ethics and trustworthiness.
The strong stand tall in the light of day while the weak and guilty lurk in the shadows.
So, to be clear, for about a month we have been publicly questioning the ethics of the HomeEquity Bank, which is owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, and which boasts assets exceeding $5.7 billion.
We have also been calling on them to investigate fully supported claims of fraud and loan sharking as were committed against a senior and veteran while he was making the mistake of signing up for one of their CHIP Reverse Mortgages through the brokers of Verico the Mortgage Station.
Instead of stepping up, the HomeEquity Bank responded with the small and pathetic response of pleading with Facebook to stop us from using their proprietary propaganda to show who they really are.
The HomeEquity Bank is reported to be worth about 5.7 billion dollars. Meanwhile, Five Points Media is a small and self-financed community media company that is run out of a Big Blue Box and which has as many dogs as staff. So, if we are publishing defamatory content that has no merit and should be blocked from the public, why haven’t the brokers of Verico the Mortgage Station, who claim sales of $5-6 million a year, or the directors of HomeEquity Bank not taken legal action to seek a cease-and-desist order or other injunctive relief?
The answer is simple.
We have the evidence, and we have a history of being very successful in presenting facts in a court of law.
When dealing with Facebook, it is often hard to understand their thinking, but this morning our Producer sent to them a response that is included below. In it, he noted as follows: “The fair dealing exception in the Copyright Act allows you to use other people's copyright material for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire or parody provided that what you do with the work is "fair". Whether something is "fair" will depend on the circumstances.”
Copyright is not written in stone, as is often seen in published and televised news when reporters use copyright-protected materials when compiling their stories.
Much of what HomeEquity Bank is claiming to be their proprietary content is in fact nothing but screengrabs of Google searches, which means they are simply lying in order to convince Facebook to censor our content.
Under the exception of “news reporting” we have every right to include materials that are supportive of our story, regardless of the wants or feelings of the directors of HomeEquity Bank, who now appear to be siding with loan sharks rather than supporting their often vulnerable senior clients. We have reached out to the management team of the HomeEquity Bank both as journalists and as a client and the response has been patronization and dead air. The brokers at Verico the Mortgage Station defrauded a client of their bank, and they have seemingly done nothing to hold accountable those provincially licensed and wrongly entrusted loan sharks.
This says a lot about the true corporate culture of the HomeEquity Bank, and how much they truly don't appear to care about their often vulnerable clients.
It is likely the falsely generated perception versus the reality of their corporate culture that is most concerning to the directors of HomeEquity Bank. Clearly the image of their bank caring about seniors is very important to their bottom line. By looking at their propaganda it is obvious that the HomeEquity Bank has spent a lot of time and considerable sums to project an image of forward-thinking, concerned, and genuine people. However, we are presenting them to their customers with evidence and publicly reporting on who they truly appear to be, so they respond by running to the censor police at Facebook rather than dealing with the issues or challenging our claims in a court of law.
The HomeEquity Bank shares with Verico the Mortgage Station a fear of taking the evidence before a judge.
So, instead, they will cry foul to Facebook in the hopes that one big corporation will help the other.
This attack on our Facebook feed is also utterly irrelevant. A month or so ago, when we first started telling this story, social media was important to tell the local community about the abuses undertaken at Verico the Mortgage Station.
However, now more of our visitors come from direct email links than anywhere else, with the search engines coming up a distant second. It is also easy for us to recreate the blocked content and simply remove or create mock-ups of what the HomeEquity Bank claims to own.
We possess an entire media facility that is second to none north of the Greater Toronto Area, so Facebook posts are really low on our list of priorities. All this action has accomplished is to show how much the HomeEquity Bank is concerned about this story. Maybe that should inspire them to do the right thing and cut all ties with Verico the Mortgage Station. That is the only way they can protect their often vulnerable clients from loan sharking and mortgage skimming, which should be their first priority.
We are also now using Twitter, where our audience is growing, and we are looking at special social media tools through which we will be able to warn the vulnerable seniors in our community across multiple social media platforms with a single click of the mouse.
Below is the content of our “appeal” to Facebook. We can only guess what their decision will be, and it really doesn't matter. Whatever economic damage is done now to HomeEquity Bank has been brought about by their own actions.
We are journalists and have been established as such in Ontario for nine years, since 2014. We have to our credit more than 300 news and community videos which can be found at http://www.fivepointsmedia.ca/recent-stories.html.
We are also held in high regard within our community as can be seen at http://www.fivepointsmedia.ca/testimonials.html
We are currently working on a story about how a mortgage brokerage in Lefroy Ontario is defrauding seniors and veterans through loan sharking and skimming of mortgages. The HomeEquity Bank is a legitimate part of the story as it is their product that is being sold by the brokerage, and it is the nature of their product that attracts often vulnerable seniors to the brokerage. The HomeEquity Bank can stop the fraud and hold the brokers accountable, but clearly, their lust for money outweighs their concern for their elderly clients.
As HomeEquity Bank is irrefutably a component of the story, our use of copyright material is protected by the Fair Use provisions of the Copyright Act of Canada.
“The fair dealing exception in the Copyright Act allows you to use other people's copyright material for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire or parody provided that what you do with the work is "fair". Whether something is "fair" will depend on the circumstances.”
We have not in any way damaged, tarnished, deformed, or lessened the quality or image of any copyright materials used by us in the telling of our story. If you deem it warranted, we will be happy to tag the files as using the copyright materials without consent, pursuant to the Copyright Act of Canada.
I submit that this complaint is little more than an attempt to silence the truth of this story which is now drawing considerable attention and is growing rapidly.