Divisive messages about Democrats and race blasted by social media accounts during debate
Sen. Bernie Sanders talks about Donald Trump on Conan O'Brien (Screen cap).

Last night, Democrats battled in the second debate of the primary cycle. A few standout moments included Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) retorting "I wrote the damn bill!" when Tim Ryan challenged Sanders on Medicare for All.


That line dominated social media, according to a social media analytic company called Storyful. But in addition to the organic shares of the viral moment, there was a worrisome artificial social media phenomenon in response to the debate.

Storyful notes that the social media hashtag #DemDebateSoWhite was promoted by accounts that appear to be bots, Fox News reports.

“Storyful analysis indicates a high degree of automation and bot-like activity among the accounts interacting with the hashtag,” the company said in a statement. They weren't able to trace the source of the bots.

The noted that race is likely to be an issue stirred up by artificial accounts as the Democratic primary proceeds, especially in relation to Kamala Harris.

“The bot-like activity on #DemDebateSoWhite follows a high degree of automation in discussion around Kamala Harris’s ethnicity during the first Democratic debate, indicating the issue of race as a possible target for bot and bot-like accounts during the election campaign,” Storyful added.

Harris is scheduled to debate fellow Democrats tonight.