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On Thursday, July 26, 2018 Facebook‘s stock plunged 19% losing about $119 billion in market value constituting the biggest single-day loss for any public company in history, according to Thomson Reuters.

Relatedly, Facebook has announced they will be essentially censoring content endeavoring to limit fake news, unreliable sourced news, disinformation and the like. Who decides what gets deleted? Censored? Apparently, Facebook does.

Could auctioneer associations censor information? Do auctioneer associations get to decide what gets published, who gets to speak, what content they share with their members? They do indeed. However, here again the question is, “What information is appropriate for members? What information is not appropriate? Who gets to decide?” Of course, the association makes those decisions.

And … while not our particular subject today, could Facebook or an auctioneer association limit speech away from their platform (association?) While it’s conceivable that external media could be used and/or evaluated as criteria for allowing that speech within their own domain, limiting speech distinct from the platform seems anomalous.

Nonetheless, Facebook (and auctioneer associations) should note that what is fake or unreliable (or inappropriate) to one person may not be to another. Rarely — if ever — does everyone agree on what is fake news, unreliable news, disinformation or even inappropriate …

For example, if one auctioneer wants to say that there are good reasons to reopen bids and that you can/should treat bidders disparately regarding terms and another auctioneer says you shouldn’t reopen bids and you should treat bidders the same except for price — who should be allowed to speak or provide content? Both? One and not the other? Neither?

Good presenters express not only the law or merely their opinion of the law (or any content, for that matter) but substantiation (context) — or at the very least some background or references. In essence, here’s my proposition or reading of the data, here’s how it was gathered, here’s the generally accepted view … here’s what has happened as a result.

I tend to think that Facebook (and auctioneer associations) need to be careful. Clearly fake news has no place other than on satirical or comedy sites — and/or patently denoted as such. Should most all other information be allowed on Facebook (and in auctioneer association classes, magazines, websites) thus allowing users (members) to decide what is valuable to them?

Maybe more material for Facebook (and auctioneer associations) there are financial and viability considerations. If Facebook continues to censor certain information, will they lose more users? Will their stock fall further? Conversely, if they allow more information will they gain/lose users based upon what is presented in the news feed? Auctioneer associations have these same considerations.

Ultimately, it would seem reasonable (and especially from a financial standpoint) that speakers and content contributors should be chosen based upon demand — how many will want to read this article … how many will want to hear this speaker? What kind of reviews has this content received prior? More users (and more members) help sustain Facebook and certainly every auctioneer association.

It appears Facebook is trying to give their users the content those users want and/or deserve. Should auctioneer associations give their members content those members want and/or deserve? Content desired can be fairly straightforward and admittedly content deserved can be a bit trickier. However, I would suggest it’s about this simple.

Leaders, officers and directors at Facebook owe their users what those users want, not necessarily what those leaders want. The leader’s job at Facebook is to provide for their constituency and endeavor to keep the Facebook community healthy and sustainable. Leaders strictly dictating to their users their own personal content preferences — despite — is a questionable business model at Facebook and in any auctioneer organization.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.