The first presidential debate of the 2016 campaign featured a huge spike in traffic on Facebook and Twitter during the first debate, which was moderated by CNN.
At the time, some observers thought the surge was caused by a lack of traffic from other candidates.
But according to a new analysis, the surge may have been even greater.
The study, conducted by the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Web and Behavioral Sciences, found that at least two of the top presidential candidates had massive spikes in traffic from their Facebook and other social media pages during the debate, including Donald Trump.
Trump was the most-tweeted candidate on Twitter at about 1.8 million times during the third and final debate, and he led the pack on Facebook at about 3.4 million times.
By comparison, Hillary Clinton led the way on Facebook with about 2.7 million Facebook likes, followed by Bernie Sanders at about 2 million and Ben Carson at about 900,000.
Both of these figures are impressive, and they are by no means unique.
Facebook and social media platforms have had spikes in popularity throughout the 2016 election cycle.
And they appear to have become even more popular as debates have become more heated, with the Trump-inspired spike in spikes being particularly noticeable in the first few debates.
But in the case of the first presidential debates, the spike in Facebook traffic may have come as a surprise to some observers.
In a CNN analysis, researchers found that Facebook has the most “frequent” users, or people who follow and like a particular user more than a week before the election, and this may be a factor behind the spike.
“It seems unlikely that Facebook is the source of the spike, but we did see the spike during the debates,” study author Dr. Robert Rieder told Vox.
“In addition, the number of users who regularly follow one user increased dramatically in the week leading up to the debates.
The spike in the number who regularly visit one page is the most significant increase.”
While this is not surprising, the researchers believe that it is a trend that may have led some voters to take more time to interact with other candidates than they would with other users.
“If we can get to the point where Facebook is making more of a concerted effort to attract users to its pages, we might see a larger increase in spikes,” Rieding said.
This story was updated at 3:05 p.m. on July 11 to reflect a comment from Facebook that it had not seen the study.