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TikTokers are trying to tank Donald Trump's town hall ratings

Jim Watson/Getty

Donald Trump and Joe Biden's second presidential debate was scheduled for Thursday, but the president's contracting COVID-19 put the kibosh on that. Instead, the two candidates will hold their own town hall events, where they'll answer questions posed to them from moderators and a live audience. The wrinkle?

Both Trump and Biden's town halls air at the exact same time, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, with the former's taking place on NBC and the latter on ABC.

Over the past day, a new challenge has circulated TikTok: Get your TV, computer, phone, tablet, and any other device with a screen, and watch Joe Biden's town hall on every single one.

Trump, the idea goes, is ratings obsessed, so it'll be a humiliation if Biden's town hall event outperforms the president's.

@hankgreen1

The town halls are Thursday night and every view on a different platform or device counts toward ratings...just saying!!

? original sound - Hank Green
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Subscribe to the CNET Now newsletter for our editors' picks of the most important stories of the day. The idea began with Hank Green, a popular TikTok user with over 1.3 million followers. "If we did want to prevent Donald Trump from having this small win, we could all watch the Joe Biden town hall on every device we own simultaneously," he said in a Wednesday TikTok, "every phone, television and computer." The TikTok has racked up 1.1 million likes so far. The idea has proliferated throughout the platform.

Over 350 videos using Green's audio have been posted in the past day, and many more TikTokers spread the idea with original posts of their own.

@magaliciousdef

Get your split screens ready yall. This bout to be a doozy ##presidentialdebates2020##townhall##biden##smackdown##howtowatch

? original sound - Magsssss @iamdustyhartl

I'll be watching! Will you be? ##joebiden##townhall##DialItForward##ImJealous##fyp##dumptrump##bluewave##voteblue##voteearly##tiktokforbiden##abcnews

? Conga - Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine @alderwolff

##biden2020##bidentownhall##LGBTQ##fypdoesntwork##fyp##voteblue##twerkingvideo##petsoftiktok##blm2020movement

? original sound - Nate Wolff

There is a slight problem with the tactic though: It's unlikely to make a difference. The "ratings" Trump often crows about are overnight metered market ratings, or overnights, which represent data collected by Nielson.

Nielson notably does not include streaming services in its ratings. In other words, Trump is unlikely to care, or even notice, if the online viewership of Biden's town hall exceed his. Regardless, it's not the first time activists on TikTok have rallied to thorn Trump's side.

In June, users on the platform took credit for sabotaging a Trump rally as they encouraged their followers to register for tickets to and then not attend.

It appeared to have worked, with 19,000 showing up for a rally that had over 1 million ticket requests.

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