Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quits Facebook, calls social media ‘a public health risk’
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s nimbleness at using social media helped her win a seat in Congress and into the national spotlight. But that doesn’t mean she’s a fan.
In an interview posted Sunday on Yahoo News’ Skullduggery podcast, the New York Democrat said she’s given up Facebook FB, +0.31% , and is cutting back on her use of Twitter TWTR, +0.99% and Instagram, citing the ill effects of social media.
“I think it has effects on everybody,” she said. “Increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, escapism.”
“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.”
“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.”
Ocasio-Cortez may have a good point. A study released in January found Facebook has a negative effect on some users’ physical and mental health, especially women. And Ocasio-Cortez is hardly the only one jumping ship from Facebook — it’s lost an estimated 15 million users in the past two years.
Mental health isn’t the only reason people are quitting, or reducing their screen time. WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton urged users to “#deleteFacebook” last year following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, and Apple Inc. AAPL, +0.18% co-founder Steve Wozniak quit Facebook a year ago over similar privacy concerns. Earlier this year, early Facebook investor Roger McNamee said it’s time to break up Facebook, warning of the dangers of tech addiction and saying tech monopolies damage democracy.
Facebook shares have weathered the storm though. They’re up 37% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s SPX, -0.06% 16% gain this year.
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