IN-DEPTH: Facebook Cancels Account of Boston Man Who Shared Letter to Epoch Times Warning of Threats to Democracy
By Ross Muscato
Chad Jones, a venture capitalist who lives and works in the Boston area, has deeply admired history and the U.S. Constitution since high school.
Jones recalls that it was sometime in early April of 2022, and as he scrolled through the archives of the online edition of The Epoch Times, he saw a submission to the letters-to-the-editor section of the newspaper that caught—and held—his attention.
The letter, published on December 5, 2021, was titled “Opinion From a Former Judge,” and authored by Keith M. Alber, who identified himself as 85 years old and a “student of law.”
“My first year of college was 68 years ago,” wrote the judge. “One class I took was political science. A half-page of my textbook essentially outlined a few steps to overturn a democracy.”
Jones kept reading; he read the steps to undo and bring down a form of government in which citizens hold primary power and are represented by those they elect and who are accountable to the citizens.
And as Jones read, the California native was beset with eerie and haunting emotion; for the words were not only on point but sounded and echoed the present.
Following are those steps to “overturn democracy” that Judge Alber shared from the textbook:
“1) Divide the nation philosophically. 2) Foment racial strife. 3) Cause distrust of police authority. 4) Swarm the nation’s borders indiscriminately and unconstitutionally. 5) Engender the military strength to weaken it. 6) Overburden citizens with more unfair taxation. 7) Encourage civil rioting and discourage accountability for all crime. 8) Control all balloting. 9) Control all media.”
Alber concluded, writing: “What was printed in 1954 as a possible diabolic nightmare has become an emerging reality. I hope that Americans will unite enough to pen a good finish – Go dwelling.”
Chad Jones felt compelled to share Judge Alber’s letter. And he did share the letter-that day on his Facebook page.
His post commenced an episode in which Jones–as a consequence, he believes, of exercising free speech and sharing credible opinion–experienced and was subject to the type of heavy-handed media control foretold in Judge Alber’s letter.
Jones believes it is a form of authoritarianism that is mainly directed at and visited on those who speak and write and recommend information and opinion that is conservative, that champions personal liberty, and disagrees with progressive and liberal politicians and policymakers.
Facebook Cancels Chad Jones
A day or two before Chad Jones posted the Judge Albers letter, his Facebook account had been released from a 30-day stay in Facebook jail, during which he could not use the account.
“What had originally got me in trouble with Facebook is that I had been sharing information and statistics about Covid that didn’t jibe with the narrative that the White House and Anthony Fauci and pro-lockdown forces were advancing and promoting,” said Jones, 53, a venture capitalist who lives and works in the Boston area.
“You see, at the time, I was working for a tech company that supports chronic care management (CCM) patients. These patients, in addition to the diseases or conditions they already have, are highly vulnerable to other problems, including COVID-19 being life-threatening if they contract the disease.
“I wrote and proposed a program to meet the needs of these patients without leaving their residence. To develop this program, I studied report after report, from NIH, HHS, CDC, and American and foreign countries. I even communicated with the White House COVID task force. Any information or data I posted about the disease was highly credible and from respected sources.”
But the social media colossus, owned by Meta, didn’t agree. It notified Jones that he had too many posts that were fact-checked. And Facebook, for all intents and purposes, suspended his account.
Facebook let him back in.
And, yet, two days after Chad Jones posted the Judge Alber letter, his account was in bad graces again with Facebook. This time, Facebook sent Jones a message that his account would be disabled in 30 days, but no reason was given for the impending action.
“I think the Judge Alber letter was the last straw, and I got silenced,” said Jones. “The timing was insanely suspicious.
“Facebook told me how I could appeal the decision, and I tried to follow the procedures to do so, but I was getting nowhere. I was not offered much of recourse beyond taking me to a screen where I could click a ‘disagree with decision’ button. I clicked that button. But I didn’t hear back.”
And the clock kept ticking. Jones received a notice from Facebook that he had 20 days to submit a successful appeal of its decision, or his account would be disabled.
Chad Jones kept trying to appeal, but it seemed no one was listening. No one was paying attention.
And then Facebook disabled his account.
“This upset me for several reasons – one was that Facebook censored me without what I felt was good and proper cause.
“I also had about 2,300 friends on the account, almost all of whom were personal friends and contacts outside of Facebook or were second-degree connections — you know, friends of friends. When Facebook deactivated the account, it erased the links to those friends.
“As well, When Facebook shut me down, it also erased hundreds of photos I had saved on the account. ”
Nothing Chad Jones did to retrieve the data and media worked.
Jones had another Facebook account that he could have started using. But the experience of getting canceled soured him on the platform. He took a break from Facebook for about three months.
Chad Jones didn’t know–not for about another year and a half–that after sharing Judge Alber’s letter on his Facebook page, the post took on rock star status and became something of an online celebrity phenomenon.
Judge Keith Alber Wrote the Letter
Judge Alber’s letter was shared so many times from The Epoch Times site, including by other news outlets, and also from Chad Jones’ Facebook page, that it caught the attention of the fact-finding and myth-busting website Snopes.
Snopes began an investigation. It dug and researched and even got Judge Keith Alber on the phone for a conversation.
Snopes published its findings in an article on May 16, 2022. It confirmed that Keith Alber wrote the letter that he sent to The Epoch Times, which The Epoch Times published, and which was shared widely and frequently online.
As well, Snopes reported: “One of the more popular postings of the article came from a Facebook account named Chad Jones. As of mid-May 2022, that post had been shared more than 11,000 times.”
Keith Alber responded to Snopes asking him if he wanted to add anything to the testimony in his letter. Alber said that, in 1954, he thought that the steps to bring down democracy that were laid out in the schoolbook “could never happen.”
Years later, he saw they were happening and was “very alarmed.”
Alber wrote: “I have pretty much dedicated my life to the justice system and laws.”
Alber worked for Los Angeles County for more than 20 years, from the late 1970s through the late 1990s, retiring from the LA County Superior Court juvenile traffic department. He was addressed on and off the job as Judge Alber.
Judge Alber also noted in his response to Snopes that he felt the state of America was a “very sad comment on the public being so dumb.”
Judge Keith Alber, who had battled complications from a stroke for several years, died on August 31, 2022. He was 86.
He left his wife of 55 years, Linda, and three children: Juliana, Kevin, and Rebecca (Becky).
The Epoch Times spoke to Juliana Alber by phone.
“Dad was remarkable; he was brilliant and curious about life; he loved reading about history,” said Juliana. “With his sharp mind, he could easily recall that passage in the textbook that he had read close to 70 years before.
“Our family is grateful that The Epoch Times published the letter and that Chad Jones and thousands of people shared it.
“Dad lived a full life, one in which he was a civic and public servant, first as an officer with the California Highway Department, which included being in the middle of the August 1965 Watts.
“My father was seriously injured in a cruiser accident while on the job as a highway officer. Following the accident, he left the highway department and became a hearing officer with the juvenile court in California.”
Chad Jones Receives an Update on His Post
Chad Jones received an email in late May 2023 from Fox News informing him of the popularity of his Judge Alber Facebook post and the stir it had caused.
Jones had been unaware of the frenzy of interest he had set off.
And Chad Jones quickly became ticked off.
“It just really struck a nerve with me because I’m an American, and I believe in Americanism, and that fundamental part of a constitutional republic is free speech, the ability to debate and disagree–to even vehemently disagree,” said Jones. “And I realize that Facebook is a private company and can say what it wants and decide who it wants on its platform. It can refuse service to people.
“But it is not fair in its practices. It allows facts and opinions that support and are sympathetic to the left and progressive agenda. But it will squelch data, information, and commentary that argues for and backs conservative principles and personal liberty.
“And we learn more and more about communication between the government and tech companies and how tech does the bidding of politicians and public officials. It’s totalitarian.”
Chad Jones experienced the type of censorship that Philip Hamburger is committed to taking on and defeating.
Hamburger, a professor at Columbia Law School, is a leading legal scholar on constitutional law and individual freedoms and personal liberties.
Hamburger heads up the New Civil Liberties Alliance, which is representing plaintiffs in Missouri v. Biden, a landmark case contesting the constitutionality of the federal government pressuring tech companies to censure and stifle free speech.
“The censorship is just awful, and we have to do as much as possible to wake people up to the danger,” said Hamburger in a comment he sent to The Epoch Times concerning Facebook shutting down Jones’ account. “It is astonishing that we are returning to the 17th-century suppression of opinion.”
Chad Jones hears Philip Hamburger clearly.
“If you want to come to America, and if you want to contribute to the nation and make the country better, then America should allow you to debate and have your voice heard, and you need to let other people speak and have their voice heard,” said Jones.
“When reasonable and rational people talk and disagree, and agree, and search for common ground, then we solve problems and achieve better outcomes.
“It is scary that the people with political and electronic power are working to shut down conversations and debate that can make this nation stronger and able to support more opportunities and possibilities.”
Facebook has yet to respond to multiple requests from The Epoch Times for comment.