Ocasio-Cortez gives up Facebook, calls social media a ‘public health risk to everybody’
WASHINGTON – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, widely considered one of the most adepts lawmakers on Capitol Hill at using social media to engage voters, said she has given up Facebook and expressed concerns about the negative effects of social media platforms in general.
“I personally gave up Facebook, which was kind of a big deal because I started my campaign on Facebook and Facebook was my primary digital organizing tool for a very long time,” the New York Democrat said in an interview with Yahoo News’ “Skullduggery” podcast on Sunday.
At 29, Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and she conceded that many young Americans have stopped using Facebook in the numbers they used to.
“I’m doing that as well,” she admitted.
But she said that she thinks, in general, “social media poses a public health risk to everybody.” She also said “there are amplified impacts for young people, particularly children under the age of 3 with screen time.”
“But I think it has a lot of effects on older people,” she said. “I think it has effects on everybody: increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, escapism.”
“I do think about that both as a person with a larger audience, but also just as an individual user of these platforms.”
A prolific presence on Twitter with 3.93 million followers, Ocasio-Cortez said she writes all of her own tweets.
She said she has tried to reduce her own time on social media and to avoid Twitter on the weekends – although she confessed you still might see her on there “every once in while” after the work week.
“It takes a lot to kind of unwind other habits,” she said.
A self-described democratic socialist, Ocasio-Cortez is a regular critic of big businesses in general, and she said Sunday that technology companies, in particular, have anti-trust issues that Congress has failed to address.
She also cited the failure of lawmakers to address the rising robocall problem as an illustration of how “Congress is fundamentally slow and technology is fundamentally fast.”
She equated the failure to address that epidemic to the government’s slow response to the spread of disinformation and hacking that occurred in the 2016 election.
Ocasio-Cortez also pointed to the degree to which some users on social media platforms use them to harass, attack and intimidate.
She pointed to President Donald Trump’s tweet last week attacking her Democratic colleague Rep. Ilhan Omar for a remark the Minnesota congresswoman made about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The video included ominous music and images of the World Trade Center burning along with Omar’s words, “some people did something.”
Ocasio-Cortez said if other people had posted something similar, Twitter might have suspended them for harassment.
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