Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview Sunday that she will no longer be using Facebook because social media poses a “public health risk,” though she will retain her accounts on Twitter and Instagram.
Ocasio-Cortez has used social media significantly to her political advantage thus far, but she announced Sunday in an interview with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery” that she will no longer be using Facebook, according to WaPo. Her campaign is still running Facebook ads, the Washington Post reports.
“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. I gave up on it,” Ocasio-Cortez said to Yahoo News.
“Social media poses a public health risk to everybody,” Ocasio-Cortez said to Yahoo News. “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.”
Ocasio-Cortez told Yahoo News that she writes her own tweets and creates her own Instagram posts, saying that she tries to participate on social media “both as a person with a larger audience but also as an individual user of these platforms.”
Facebook is rapidly losing popularity with young people and teens, with only about 50 percent of teens using Facebook in 2018 according to a Pew Research Poll. Conversely, about 72 percent of teens used Instagram in 2018, 69 percent used Snapchat, and only 32 percent of teens used Twitter.
Ocasio-Cortez‘s decision to drop Facebook may correlate with these findings. She predominantly uses Twitter and Instagram to connect with her fans, as Yahoo News notes, with a following of about 3.93 million on Twitter and about 3 million on Instagram. She has received particular attention for her use of Instagram live to maintain a relatable personna, as thousands of viewers join her live videos to watch her eat ice cream on the floor of her apartment on her Instagram story, or share tips on her skin care as reported by Vox.
“At orientation you get a swag bag,” she reportedly said in one Instagram story, as she showed off a bag she was given to hold her secure devices, according to The New York Times. “Guys, there are secret underground tunnels,” she whispered in another as she walked through the tunnels under the Capitol, “Jk they’re not secret but it’s cool.”
In another Instagram story saved on her Instagram profile, Ocasio-Cortez quietly giggles and points out that her office is located only two doors down from Nancy Pelosi’s office where Ocasio-Cortez had protested only a few days before.
Her Instagram usage has prompted other senators like Elizabeth Warren to attempt similarly relatable Instagram lives, such as a video in which Warren awkwardly drank a beer and chatted with fans in her kitchen.
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