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Let’s infiltrate Facebook with normal people who live by the Golden Rule

A woman wearing a blue and green pointy wig, aiming to look like a Russian troll, arrives prior to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

One of the things we learned in the Facebook hearings is that, like a lot of young men, Facebook’s CEO sometimes just won’t commit.

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“Will you make the commitment to changing all the user default settings to minimize the collection and use of user’s data.”

“Congressman, this is a complex issue,” Mark Zuckerberg responded.

That sounds like a no to me.

In an ideal world, there’d be clear user agreement that simply says, “Dear human being. We plan to classify you, beam irresistible ads into your brain, and manipulate your vote in the upcoming election.”

And then there’d be a big red switch under the user agreement with two positions: Let us do this, and don’t let us do this.

But as to the bigger question — the danger that personal data could be used for something more insidious than ads — there’s only one way to protect ourselves from that. And it’s for normal people like you and me to apply for jobs at Facebook. To infiltrate Facebook with employees who live by the golden rule; who can ask themselves, “would I want my data used in this way?” If the answer is no, we need people who will blow the whistle, or if necessary, do a little midnight tinkering.

Wouldn’t it be great if tomorrow we woke up and a big red privacy switch mysteriously did show up on Facebook?

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