Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has no shortage of words but she’s now taking them off social media, Facebook to be exact. In an interview posted Sunday on Yahoo News’ Skullduggery podcast, the New York representative of the 14th District said she’s given up her personal Facebook account and is cutting back on her use of Twitter and Instagram, citing the negative effects of social media.
“I actually think that social media poses a public health risk to everybody,” she 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. I think it has effects on everybody. Increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, escapism.”
There is research to back up her sentiments: A University of Surrey study released in January found Facebook has a negative effect on some users’ physical and mental health, especially women. It reports that “those who compared themselves to their Facebook friends were more likely to experience physical ailments such as sleep problems, change in weight and muscle tension.”
“I personally gave up Facebook, which was kind of a big deal because I started my campaign on Facebook,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And Facebook was my primary digital organizing tool for a very long time. I gave up on it,” she said.
She is however still using her professional Facebook account to enlist support for her Green New Deal and promote events although posts are few and far between. A prominent presence on Twitter with nearly 4 million followers, Ocasio-Cortez said she writes all of her own tweets and Instagram posts, where she has more than 3 million followers.
What if a bold agenda rooted in improving everyday people’s lives is part of a winning strategy?
What if the choice btwn big ideas+winning elections is a false one that crept up through outsize influence of💰in politics?
What if, in a nation parched for change, we were water?🌊
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 16, 2019
“I’ve started to kind of impose little rules on myself,” she added. “Like every once in a while, you’ll see me hop on Twitter on the weekends, but for the most part, I take consumption of content — when it comes to consumption and reading — I take the weekends off.”
She also called out the bullying that happens on social media platforms as a serious problem and one that’s not always handled well. She specifically points out President Trump’s tweet in response to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s remarks about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, where he used her words “some people did something” in a video with news footage of the attacks. Ocasio-Cortez said she believes Twitter might have suspended an account if they had posted something similar deeming it harassment.
This also isn’t the first time she’s voiced her discontent with Facebook when earlier this year she slammed the platform for sponsoring a conference that included a session denying climate change.
At 29, the Bronx-Born Puerto Rican is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and said that many young users, like herself, are leaving Facebook. A recent study by Edison Research found that Facebook lost about 15 million users in the US since 2017. A spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez told the Washington Post that “the congresswoman’s words speak for themselves.”