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This post is part of Kirkwood Libraries’ celebration of Choose Privacy Week. To find out about about our privacy contest, please see this post.

Facebook is a powerful tool. I don’t need to tell you that. But like all tools, they’re best used when you’ve had a little training, to keep yourself from accidental harm. You wouldn’t use a table saw or an arc welder without at least a quick show of the ropes from someone with experience, right? Everyone can imagine missing fingers, a call to 911, or getting burned…really burned. I feel the same way about Facebook. You might not have such a graphic image in your mind of the ramifications of the loss of personal privacy and identity theft, but it burns, too. I”m glad that places like the Identity Theft Resource Center exist, but hopefully we can all agree we never want to use their services.

Consumer Reports – masters of doing great research for everyday people – published this report on Facebook and Your Privacy.  What did they find? You’re probably not as safe on Facebook as you think, and it pays to be informed about why, and how to protect yourself. I myself really love the things Facebook does for me, yet I also really do try to keep aware of the “cost” of these services to my privacy, and that of the Kirkwood Libraries, where we have a presence.

Many thanks to Michelle at Kirkwood for this document with information about being safe on Facebook – it comes from both the National Association of Attorneys General and Facebook itself: Facebook Privacy Settings.

Tomorrow is the last day of Choose Privacy week, and our privacy contest is still going. Added bonus: If you add a link to this blog post to Facebook and tag Kirkwood Community College Libraries in the post, we’ll get you a free Choose Privacy Week Button!

Thanks for reading, and choose privacy!

–Nicole

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