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November 22, 2019

Politics

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a 2007 Yorktown High School graduate.
These "movie star-like" campaign signs popped up just before November's election of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, a Yorktown High School graduate and the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

AOC Reduces Social Media Screen Time After Pelosi Touts Keeping House Caucus In Order

The so-called political Princess of social media says she's taking a temporary break from Facebook, and reducing her Tweet time, while calling it a "public health risk to everybody."

At last count, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who graduated from high school in Westchester, ranked No. 2 among politicians with nearly 4 million Twitter followers  after the so-called King of social media @realDonaldTrump who boasts nearly 60 million followers of his daily tweets. 

The youngest-ever woman elected to Congress, at age 29, the 2007 Yorktown High School graduate ran under a different @ocasio2018 Twitter account during her primary campaign to upset longtime Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley.

"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 April 14.

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 said.

Ocasio-Cortez said she thinks that "social media poses a public health risk to everybody. ... 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 aded. "I think it has effects on everybody: increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, escapism."

But did recent remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi help tone down the Bronx Democrat? 

Asked By USA Today about the challenges of governing a caucus in the House that is being second-guessed by AOC and other newly-elected liberals, Pelosi said: "While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what's important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House."

Pelosi didn't mention AOC by name, but Ocasio-Cortez has more Twitter followers than any other House member on Capitol Hill including the California leader, who has nearly 2.5 million followers.

Pelosi's dig at AOC isn't an isolated remark. In February, when the House speaker was asked about the "Green New Deal," a legislative plan that Ocasio-Cortez has pushed to address climate change. Pelosi said, "It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive. . . .The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they're for it, right?"

In office less than four months, AOC already is being targeted for defeat in 2020 by a Virginia-based Political Action Committee, New York multimillionaire and at least three possible Republican challengers from the Bronx and Queens.

The democratic socialist -- who has been criticized for opposing a new Amazon headquarters in Long Island City -- said she thinks that technology companies have anti-trust issues that Congress has failed to address. She also cited the failure to address a rising robocall problem as an illustration of how "Congress is fundamentally slow and technology is fundamentally fast."

Ocasio-Cortez likened Congress' failure to address the cellphone epidemic to the federal government's sluggish response to the spread of hacking and fake news during the 2016 election.

And Ocasio-Cortez condemned the misuse of social media to harass, attack and intimidate others. She cited to President Trump's tweet attacking her Democratic colleague Rep. Ilhan Omar for a comment 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 their accounts for harassment. 

A reduction in social media doesn't mean AOC is out of the media spotlight, however. A couple days ago, she tweeted: "Before my primary, three women & I agreed to film our journey of trying to run for office without big money. Now, #KnockDownTheHouse hits Netflix & select theaters next week, May 1st." To find or host a local community screening, follow: @knockdownmovie