Author archives

Ross Teixeira is a researcher and writer at the intersection of technology and society. Before The Markup, he was a PhD candidate in computer science at Princeton University, where he investigated topics including data privacy, broadband availability, edtech, and network security. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he led a team that examined the swift adoption of edtech in classrooms to support remote learning, uncovering privacy concerns associated with platforms like Zoom and Canvas that violated the expectations of teachers and students. Ross also investigated the disparity in broadband internet availability across the United States by querying coverage for millions of residential addresses, uncovering instances of overstated coverage by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and pushing the FCC to implement more accurate mapping procedures. Ross was a lead editor for an issue of the student tech magazine “XRDS,” which examined technology’s role in addressing pressing societal challenges, including climate change, voting, policing, data privacy, censorship, and surveillance. He is also an award-winning teaching assistant and mentor. Ross studied computer science at Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley. He is based in Philadelphia.

Mortgage Brokers Sent People’s Estimated Credit, Address, and Veteran Status to Facebook

When someone applies for a mortgage, they trust a home loan lender or mortgage broker with some of the most sensitive information they have: information about their credit, their home, and the personal details of their lives. Unbeknownst to those prospective homeowners, they may also be sharing that information with Facebook. The Markup tested more than 700 websites that offer loans for people looking to purchase or refinance a home, from major online brokers to lesser-known regional lenders, and found that more than 200 of them share some amount of user data with Facebook. On their sites, these companies embedded the Meta Pixel, a small piece of tracking software that shares visitors’ information with Facebook. As users filled out mortgage applications or requested quotes for mortgage rates, the pixel tracked information about their credit, veteran status, occupation, the specific homes they wanted, and more. Experts told Colin Lecher and Ross Teixeira of The Markup that it might be against the law for mortgage lenders to feed this kind of information to Facebook.

Subjects: Business Research, Financial System, Legal Research, Privacy, Social Media