The New York Congresswoman is known for her social media savvy, but this week she threatened to leave Twitter over a verified account impersonating her
Would AOC Really Quit Twitter?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) entered public service as the youngest member of Congress and has long been known for her social media savvy.
The Congresswoman known as AOC has famously live-streamed from her kitchen on Instagram, has one of the largest Twitter followings in Congress, and even launched a TikTok account, at a time when there were efforts to ban that app’s usage.
Now, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is going after Twitter’s owner, after the emergence of an AOC parody account that has earned verified status. She’s even implied that she may quit Twitter in response.
“FYI there’s a fake account on here impersonating me and going viral. The Twitter CEO has engaged it, boosting visibility,” the Congresswoman tweeted from her actual account on May 30. “It is releasing false policy statements and gaining spread. I am assessing with my team how to move forward. In the meantime, be careful of what you see.”
The fake account is called ‘@AOCPress,” and its display name is “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Press Release (parody), although the word “parody” is near the end of its long name. ” The account carries a paid verification badge and has over 268,000 followers. The parody account also posted an identical tweet to @AOC’s.
The fake AOC account has in recent days posted such sentiments as “White people are literally holding our economy hostage by owning guns,” “printing money is the only way out of inflation,” and “Cow farts are racist.” At times, fact-checking sites have had to correct information posted from the account, such as when Snopes pointed out that Ocasio-Cortez did not, in fact, say that “farming should be illegal.”
The controversy is emblematic of the Elon Musk era of Twitter, in which a blue checkmark has switched from verification that a well-known person is who they say they are, to an emblem showing that the user has paid for the blue checkmark. Impersonation is not allowed, but parody is, provided it is marked as such.
Also this week, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez announced that she opposes the debt ceiling deal between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and that she plans to vote against it. That made her the first Democrat to announce an intention to vote against the deal.
AOC had indicated earlier on that she would oppose most of the things that the president ultimately agreed to in the debt deal.
“My red line has already been surpassed,” Ocasio-Cortez said in early May. “I mean, where do we start? [No] clean debt ceiling. Work requirements. Cuts to programs. I would never — I would never — vote for that.”
“Ocasio-Cortez told the Washington Examiner’s Reese Gorman that she would be voting against the debt ceiling bill,” that publication said. “She also said that she believed other progressive Democrats would follow her lead, possibly opening up the floodgates of opposition to the bill in Congress. Several progressive Democrats have taken issue with the spending cuts toward social programs that McCarthy was able to push through in negotiations with Biden.”
The progressive case against the deal is that it cuts too much, while also putting cuts in place. The conservative case is that the cuts aren’t steep enough and that McCarthy could have landed a better deal in his talks with the president.
The AP reported Wednesday, ahead of the vote, that the president and speaker appear to have “assembled a coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans for passage over fierce conservative blowback and progressive dissent.”
If the bill passes, the U.S. will avoid the prospect of a default on the nation’s debt, as soon as June 5.
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.