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9 great reads from CNET this week

Why Facebook is feared in Iowa, how encryption could stop the leak of your personal data and what Joseph Gordon-Levitt believes gets lost in the chase for Instagram likes.

It might be February already, but Amazon and Apple were still ringing in the holidays this week with reports of blowout fourth-quarter sales. Earnings were less merry for Facebook and Samsung.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a public health emergency; the UK gave China's Huawei the go-ahead to build noncore parts of the country's 5G network; and Boeing's new 777X, with its folding wingtips, completed its first flight.

Here are the week's stories you don't want to miss:

In Iowa, people worry about one social network as caucuses loom

In almost 30 interviews across the state, locals said Facebook is the most untrustworthy of all the social networks when it comes to political news.

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Richard Nieva/CNET

How encryption could stop personal data exposures on the cloud

The cloud leaks your data like crazy.

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Getty Images

Blackouts that cut cell service aren't just annoying, they're dangerous

California may require wireless carriers to keep towers operating during a power outage. Good.

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Don't chase Instagram likes and YouTube followers

At Sundance, the actor says the hunt for fame can dilute creativity.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Michael Muller

This VR living room lets you step inside a data privacy nightmare

Persuasion Machines brings to life all the devices listening, tracking and trying to manipulate you inside your home.

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The Othrs

Pawn Stars' Rick Harrison has a wooden phone worth more than an iPhone

The Pawn Star talks about buying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's goggles and living off-grid.

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John Kim/CNET

Protecting yourself from coronavirus: The two types of face masks that can help

A face mask can protect you from contracting a cold, flu or other virus -- just make sure you get the right kind.

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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

iPad's 10th anniversary leaves us asking if Apple's tablet is a computer

Commentary: Asking if an iPad is a computer is like asking if a hot dog is a sandwich.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Every home's camera could become a license plate reader

License plate readers are typically reserved for law enforcement. Rekor Systems wants to make surveillance tech available to you and your neighbors.

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Watchman