#KamalaHarrisDestroyed trending after Democratic debate

#KamalaHarrisDestroyed trended on Twitter early Thursday after Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE (D-Calif.) clashed onstage with several fellow White House hopefuls during the second night of the Democratic presidential primary debates in Detroit.

The term, buoyed mostly by progressives supporting Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Morning Report: How will Trump be received at G-7? MORE (D-Hawaii), referred to a moment onstage during Wednesday night's debate when Gabbard questioned Harris on her record as a prosecutor.

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"She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana," Gabbard said during a heated discussion on criminal justice, referring to Harris. The remark garnered a round of applause for the Hawaii congresswoman.

"She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so," Gabbard added. "She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California."

Harris responded, telling the audience that her time as a prosecutor revealed to her how the criminal justice system was broken, a remark that earned more criticism from Gabbard.

"The bottom line is, Senator Harris, when you were in a position to make a difference and an impact in these people’s lives, you did not. And worse yet, in the case of those who were on death row, innocent people, you actually blocked evidence from being revealed that would have freed them until you were forced to do so," Gabbard said.

Harris had a lively performance during Wednesday night's debate, clashing once again with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden evokes 1968, asks voters to imagine if Obama had been assassinated Biden blasts Trump's 'embarrassing' actions heading into G-7 summit Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates MORE and others on the issues of "Medicare for All," busing and other topics.

The #KamalaHarrisDestroyed hashtag had disappeared from the list of trending U.S. terms by 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Harris's spokesman, Ian Sams, responded to the hashtag, noting that at least some of the accounts promoting it appeared to be bots.

"The Russian propaganda machine that tried to influence the 2016 election is now promoting the presidential aspirations of a controversial Hawaii Democrat," he said.

The Wall Street Journal, citing the tool Storyful, later found that hundreds of Twitter accounts using the hashtag may have been bots. Studies show that Twitter bots are often used by foreign influencers, including by Russians in the 2016 presidential election. Storyful is a social-media analytics company that is owned by News Corp, which also owns the Journal.

Twitter said its initial investigations had not found evidence of bot activity amplifying #kamalaharrisdestroyed, and that it uses technology and human review to identify and mitigate attempts to manipulate the platform. It said the hashtag was driven by organic, authentic conversation.

-Updated August 2 at 12:23 p.m.