Second presidential debate: Tweeters break election records

During the extremely contentious and bitter second presidential debate, Facebook users and Tweeters took to social media in massive numbers to share their reactions.

According to data released by Twitter, Sunday night’s debate reigned as the most tweeted debate ever, with more than 17 million debate-related Tweets sent. Sunday also became the most Tweeted day of the entire 2016 election with nearly 30 million tweets overall.

Both Twitter and Facebook users were in agreement on the debate’s top moments. Users from both platforms engaged the most when Trump dismissed his running mate Mike Pence, which occurred after moderator Martha Raddatz informed the GOP candidate of Pence’s call for U.S. military intervention in Syria. Trump responded, “He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree.”

Though Twitter and Facebook users agreed on the second and third most discussed moments, they disagreed on their placement. On Twitter, the second most shared moment involved Trump’s brief moment of chivalry in which he insisted that Clinton answer the question first because “[he’s] a gentleman. On Facebook, that moment placed third.

The third top Tweeted moment went to Trump when he told Clinton that if he were in charge of the law “[she’d] be in jail.” On Facebook, however, that came in second.

Unlike past debates, however, Hillary Clinton gained more Twitter followers than Donald Trump. @HillaryClinton attracted 25,000, compared to @realDonaldTrump’s 16,000.

When it came to the most Tweeted policies, users talked most about terrorism, followed by foreign affairs, the economy, healthcare, and guns. However, Twitter noted that Trump’s treatment of women saw more discussion than any policy-related topic.

Trump also generated nearly twice as much debate conversation on Twitter than Clinton--64 to 36 percent, respectively. On Facebook, however, the GOP candidate crushed his Democratic competitor when it came to generating the most conversation. Trump shared 76 percent of the conversation compared to Clinton’s 24.

Despite the recently resurfaced video of Trump’s lewd remarks on women, ISIS remained the topic most discussed by Facebook users, followed by the Trump tapes, taxes, government ethics and healthcare. 

  • Julia Boccagno

    Julia Boccagno is a news associate for CBS News.