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EXCLUSIVE: Federal judge orders entrepreneur to commit his own Facebook identity theft or go to jail

Facebook identity theft

(NaturalNews) In yet another astonishing example of the expanding insanity of the judicial activism sweeping across America, a federal bankruptcy judge in the Southern District of Texas has ordered an individual to commit his own identity theft on Facebook and violate the Facebook terms of service he has agreed to, or be arrested and thrown in jail at noon tomorrow.

On April 3, Judge Jeff Bohm issued an "ORDER DENYING JEREMY ALCEDE'S EMERGENCY MOTION OBJECTING TO PROPOSED ORDER REGARDING SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS." (Case No. 14-33564, in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.) (See document here - PDF.)

The account in question is named "Jeremy Alcede Entrepreneur" and is accessible at this Facebook page with the same name. It has over 10,800 likes and the maximum 5,000 friends.

The account was previously named "Tactical Firearms" but was used almost exclusively for personal messages from the founder of the company, Jeremy Alcede. "I posted fewer than 20 commercial promotion messages over the 5 years, such as Black Friday specials," Alcede told Natural News. "I had thousands of personal posts over that same time period. The account was used almost exclusively for personal messaging to fans and friends."

To clarify his personal account status during the business bankruptcy fallout, Alcede updated the account name last December to "Jeremy Alcede Entrepreneur" in order to reflect his personal namesake.

A casual examination of the posts on the account by Natural News indicates it consists almost entirely of messages that are personal in nature, not commercial.

Court orders private individual to give up his own Facebook account

The winners of the bankruptcy proceedings, however, wish to use the "Jeremy Alcede Entrepreneur" account to promote the business they have been granted via the bankruptcy proceedings. Without those 10,800+ likes, 5,000 friends and who knows how many followers, they may not be able to successfully generate the business and cash flow necessary to keep the business afloat. So they asked Judge Jeff Bohm to force Alcede to turn over the account to them, allowing them to post messages in the name of Jeremy Alcede to Alcede's friends and followers, effectively impersonating Alcede.

Per the court order, Alcede is even being ordered by a judge to accept a Facebook friend! (When was the last time a court judge ordered you to friend someone you didn't consider a friend at all?)

ORDERED that Jeremy Alcede shall, by no later than noon on April 8, 2015, accept John Boyert's Friend Request; and it is further

ORDERED that Jeremy Alced shall, by no later than noon on April 8, 2015, make John Boyert an "Admin" of the Facebook Page by navigating to "Page Roles" under the Facebook Page "Settings," typing John Boyert, selecting "Admin" from the drop-down menu, and then clicking "Save"; and it is further

ORDERED that Jeremy Alcede shall, by no later than noon on April 8, 2015, change the password to the Twitter Account to a password that he will share with John Boyert by navigating to Settings - Password, entering the current password in the "Current password" field, entering the new password (the New Password) in the "New password" field, entering the New Password in the "Verify password" field, and then clicking "Save changes"; and it is further...

But by handing over the password of his personal page to the new owners of the company, Alcede would be committing his own identity theft on Facebook, granting the hostile parties who have taken over the business the opportunity to smear Alcede's name and reputation by posting false messages that appear to be coming from Alcede himself.

"They could say I love Barack Obama... they would be impersonating me," Alcede told Natural News. "This is court-sanctioned identity theft."

Judge forcing Facebook user to violate Facebook's terms of use

The court order by Judge Jeff Bohm -- who appears to be unfamiliar with modern-day social media dynamics -- would also force Jeremy Alcede to violate Facebook's terms of service.

Under the Facebook.com legal terms, section 4, "Registration and Account Security," the user agreement states "You will not transfer your account (including any Page or application you administer) to anyone without first getting our written permission."

The Facebook legal terms page also explains, "You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings."

Thus, even Facebook confirms that the person who posts the content OWNS the content, implying they must also own the "likes" to that same content.

Judge Jeff Bohm strangely disagrees, insisting that Jeremy Alcede's thousands of posts, 10,000+ likes and 5,000 friends suddenly belong to the business he once founded but now has no part of. If this ruling is allowed to stand, it would set a dangerous precedent for social media, allowing court judges to seize personal Facebook pages and reassign them to other parties who can then impersonate the original Facebook account founder to smear their reputations, exploit their fan base and conduct commercial marketing campaigns disguised as personal appeals in the name of a person who has been cut off from communicating with his own Facebook followers.

As Judge Bohm writes in his court opinion, he believes that Alcede's personal social media pages should become the property of the reorganized business merely because Alcede's personal page recommended that business on fewer than 20 occasions over a five-year period. Here's what Judge Bohm writes:

The instant dispute involves one central question: what social media property belongs to the reorganized corporate Debtor as opposed to Mr. Alcede, personally? This Court concludes that the Facebook Page that Mr. Alcede refers to as his "likes" page and the sole Twitter account discussed at the hearings are both property of the reorganized debtor, and not the personal property of Mr. Alcede. As an initial matter, this Court notes that Mr. Alcede's choice of terminology to refer to the social media accounts is misleading, perhaps deliberately so.

As Alcede explained to Natural News, the mere recommendation of a business from a personal social media account page does not grant that business any claim to ownership or control over the social media page. "If I recommended Papadeaux's restaurant ten times over five years, does that mean the Papadeaux corporation now owns my personal Facebook page?" Alcede asked Natural News. "I don't think so."

Now Alcede finds himself in a catch-22 conundrum. If he chooses to follow the court order, his account could be terminated by Facebook for a terms of service violation while the new owners of Tactical Firearms maliciously impersonate him to post defamatory messages to his own followers. If he chooses to reject the court order, he will be arrested and thrown in jail, then held in contempt of court. Either way, he is screwed by a federal court judge whose views of social media seem to be wildly outdated.

Nasty bankruptcy proceeding turns into a theater of the absurd

The bankruptcy in question appears to be a particularly nasty disagreement between Jeremy Alcede, founder of Tactical Firearms in Katy, Texas, and investors Stephen Coe Wilson and John Boyert. As this court document reveals, Alcede was accused of embezzling from the company by diverting funds from the sale of used firearms shells.

Alcede says that he was essentially muscled out of the business by people who had more money to hire more lawyers who made false claims against him. He told Natural News he has proof that they deliberately bankrupted the company in order to seize control of it (see court testimony document pictures below). This article has no intention of attempting to sort out the validity of such disagreements in the bankruptcy proceedings itself. Rather, this article is concerned solely with the seemingly bizarre decision of a federal judge to force a man -- essentially at gunpoint -- to hand over control of his own personal social media page to another party which may then use that page to defame him.

In this court document, Judge Bohm attempts to argue that Alcede's personal Facebook page should be considered property of the receiving bankruptcy party, but this argument appears to wholly ignore that the primary use of the page was for personal messaging, and that the "likes" of the page were likes created by people who enjoyed Jeremy Alcede's hilarious personal posts, not people who were signing up to hear corporate press releases from a commercial entity.

Thus, Judge Bohm weaves a misdirected legal argument that misses the forest for the trees. Additionally, Jeremy Alcede himself is something of a celebrity in Katy, Texas, for his outspoken street signs that mock President Obama and anti-gun activists in general. Alcede was featured by Piers Morgan on a "gun experience" news show, and he is recognized by locals as an outspoken, sometimes belligerant, pro-gun activist who makes waves and is therefore highly fascinating to observe. Many of the customers who visit Tactical Firearms in Katy were, in fact, attracted to the business because of the personal antics of Jeremy Alcede himself. He is not just the founder of Tactical Firearms, but in a very real sense also the "celebrity face" of the business.

If Alcede is no longer associated with Tactical Firearms, many of his personal fans and followers will likely distance themselves from the company as well. That's why it appears the court-ordered takeover of Alcede's personal social media accounts is so critically important to the bankruptcy receivers: They need the name of Jeremy Alcede to keep the business going. So they've convinced a federal judge to steal it for them.

If this decision stands, it means all of us who have personal Facebook accounts -- mine has 1.5 million likes -- can have our accounts stolen by activist judges who fail to understand the dynamics of modern-day social media.

How would you like it if a judge ordered you to turn over your own personal Facebook page to someone else or go to jail?

Sound off in the comments section below.

"I served my country and I paid my taxes, and I think I have a First Amendment to free speech in my own private name." - Jeremy Alcede

As some background to some of the nastiness and animosity of this bankruptcy mess, here are some screen grabs and conversations:

Chat between Alcede (in blue) and Stephen Coe Wilson (gray):

Some other lovely social media post:

A court transcript that seems to indicate the receiving parties intentionally tried to bankrupt the company:

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