Facebook: More than 18 million engaged in debate conversation

Greg Nash

More than 18 million people engaged in the conversation on Facebook about the first presidential debate of 2016 on Monday night, according to the company.

The social network said early Tuesday morning that 18.6 million people had generated 73.8 million likes, comments, shares and posts related to the debate.

{mosads}It also said that 55 million people had watched live video related to the debate but did not offer exact numbers on how many of those people were watching the debate itself. Facebook counts a view as someone who watches for three seconds or longer.

Facebook has moved this year to become a greater player in the electoral process. That has often taken the form of involvement in the debates; during the primaries, Facebook had a physical presence at several of the debates as the field of candidates was winnowed down.

The company was also a formal sponsor of Monday night’s debate, which was moderated by NBC News anchor Lester Holt. It also partnered with ABC News to stream debate coverage using Facebook Live.

The debate was marked by sharp exchanges between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. According to Facebook, the moment that generated the most chatter on the platform was when the bombastic Trump praised his “temperament.”

Trump generally dominates interest on social media, and that trend continued on Monday. Facebook said that 79 percent of the conversation about the debate related to Trump, and 21 percent related to Clinton.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

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