AOC 'Quit' Facebook in April, Spent $480,000 on Ads in 90 Days

Torrid pace of Facebook fundraising blows past some presidential campaigns

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Getty Images
August 14, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) is continuing a massive fundraising blitz on Facebook, despite her campaign having $1.4 million cash on hand at the end of last quarter and the added advantage of running her 2020 campaign as an incumbent without a challenger.

In April, Ocasio-Cortez told a Yahoo News podcast that she was quitting her own private use of the platform. The Washington Post reported at the time "the New York Democrat said she stopped using her Facebook account and was scaling back on all social media, which she described as a 'public health risk' because it can lead to 'increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, escapism.'"

Political advertising data from Facebook spanning the last 30 days shows Ocasio-Cortez spent over $130,000 on the social media network, almost all of it seeking campaign contributions, and currently has 490 active advertisements.

That level of spending made her the 47th biggest spender on Facebook in the last month, pushing her past some Democratic presidential candidates such as California senator Kamala Harris, who spent about $124,000 and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke, who spent a little more than $123,000.

Data from the last 90 days shows the AOC campaign was just shy of spending $480,000 with Facebook.

Most of the ads don't mention the need to defeat a Democratic challenger or a Republican opponent, but instead ask the viewer to help her "movement" show strength.

"At the end of every quarter, almost every political candidate ramps up their fundraising so they can appear as strong as possible," one of the ads begins. "That's because at the end of the FEC deadline your fundraising total becomes public. The total amount you raise, and the amount of people who donate to you, is a huge indicator of strength for a political movement."

Those who contribute are told they will be helping the first-term congresswoman spend less time on the phone fundraising, and spend "more time fighting for big projects like the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, or the Loan Shark Prevention Act."

Fundraising data from the last quarter showed the effort to attract small donors was working, as "the bulk of Ocasio-Cortez's fundraising came in donations of less than $200—an indication that she is successfully raising money online from grassroots supporters," according to Reuters.

Requests for comment emailed to the congresswoman's campaign website were not immediately returned.