Second Presidential Debate: Facebook, Twitter Abuzz With Trump’s Dismissal of Pence

Throwing your running mate under the bus during a presidential debate is a surefire way to draw attention on social media.

Throwing your running mate under the bus during a presidential debate is a surefire way to draw attention on social media.

Donald Trump’s comment during the second presidential debate Sunday night that he had not spoken with vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and that he disagreed with Pence’s take on Syria was the most mentioned moment on both Facebook and Twitter during the event.

Sunday night’s debate set records on both Twitter and Facebook as the most-talked-about event of its kind, with 19.8 million Facebook users generating more than 92.4 million likes, posts, comments and shares during the event, and Nielsen reporting that the two social networks combined saw 62 million interacts from 18.2 million people.

Trump dominated conversation on Facebook, accounting for 76 percent versus 24 percent for Hillary Clinton, and the top three social moments on Facebook during Sunday night’s debate were:

  1. Trump’s dismissal of Pence.
  2. Clinton saying it was good that someone like Trump wasn’t in charge of the law, and Trump responding, “Because you’d be in jail.”
  3. Trump saying, “No, I’m a gentleman, Hillary. Go ahead.”

The most-discussed topics on Facebook were:

  1. ISIS
  2. Trump tapes
  3. Taxes
  4. Government ethics
  5. Healthcare

As for Twitter, Trump still dominated, but less so than on Facebook, leading Clinton with a 64 percent share of conversation versus 36 percent.

The three most-tweeted moments were the same as Facebook’s top three social moments, with “Because you’d be in jail” and “No, I’m a gentleman” swapping spots.


The five most-tweeted-about policy topics during Sunday night’s event were:

  1. Terrorism
  2. Foreign affairs
  3. Economy
  4. Healthcare
  5. Guns

However, Twitter said there were more tweets about Trump’s treatment of women than about any policy issues.

Clinton picked up 25,000 Twitter followers during the debate, while Trump added 16,000, and the most retweeted tweet was:

Nielsen shared some statistics, as well:

  • Activity peaked between 10 p.m. and 10:14 p.m. ET, with 5.6 million interactions occurring as the candidates discussed taxes and Syria.
  • Each person tweeting about the debate interacted seven times on average.
  • “Trump” was mentioned in 5.5 million tweets, compared with 2.1 million for “Hillary.”
  • There were 47.2 million Facebook interactions about the event, with 63 percent of those from female and 41 percent from users under the age of 35.

Readers: Did you interact on Twitter or Facebook during Sunday night’s debate?