AOC quit social media?

The Democrat calls social media a "public health risk"

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Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez right to quit social media and call it a "public health risk"?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has given up on Facebook, arguing that it - and other social media - "poses a public health risk to everybody".

She says that it has negative impacts on people's lives, from isolation to addiction.

However, some argue that the Democrat would be missed from social media, as she shows "digital emotional intelligence".

The Claim

Ocasio-Cortez said she is conscious of social media's negative impacts, and has quit one of the biggest platforms, CNN reports.

The New York Democrat told Yahoo News' Skullduggery podcast that she "personally gave up Facebook", despite it being her "primary digital organising tool".

Her team still runs her official congressional account and a political account - and they have spent more than $370,000 on ads over the past year.

Ocasio-Cortez said: "I actually think that social media poses a public health risk to everybody.

"There are amplified impacts for young people, particularly children under the age of three, 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."

She still uses Twitter and Instagram, penning posts to her followers, but has started to "impose little rules" on her social media use, such as curtailing her use on weekends.

The Counterclaim

However, Thrive Global's Sarah Reyes calls Ocasio-Cortez "the queen of emotional intelligence" on social media.

She argues: "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be a rookie congressional representative, but she is quickly proving she is a master of social media."

Reyes argues that the 29-year-old congresswoman has a digital emotional intelligence, which she defines as "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically over digital channels including email and social media".

She says that Ocasio-Cortez uses impactful social media techniques such as authenticity, owning the narrative, and supporting others on social media.

She also uses the 180-degree rule: when she was attacked for a video of her dancing as a student, she embraced the criticism, posting a video of herself dancing in her office.

Reyes concludes: "In politics, as in business, you can’t ignore social media. But both arenas can be fraught with negativity and criticism. Learn from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and master the medium."

The Facts

Ocasio-Cortez may be staying off social media, but she cannot escape one media: television. Or more specifically, Fox News.

Media Matters researcher Courtney Hagle documented six weeks of Fox's coverage of the congresswoman, and discovered that she was mentioned at least 3,181 times within that time frame.

She added that not a day went by without Ocasio-Cortez being mentioned by the channel.

Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, was elected to the House of Representatives in the November midterms. The New Yorker won the 14th district with 78 per cent of the vote.

She assumed office on January 3 this year. A month later, she submitted her first piece of legislation, the Green New Deal, to the Senate with Senator Ed Markey. It is a 10-year plan to phase out fossil fuels in the United States, addressing climate change and inequality.

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