One of the lower polling of the ten candidates on stage in Atlanta, the 44-year-old had to wait around 32 minutes before moderators turned to him.
Seizing on an opportunity to highlight what would be his main priorities as president, he said he was concerned about climate change, artificial intelligence and the rise of China.
“China is winning the AI race because they have access to more data than we do,” he said.
Many of Mr Yang’s supporters alleged that their hero was being intentionally ignored by moderators, and some started posting messages on social media, using the hashtag #LetYangSpeak.
“When Elizabeth Warren raises her hand, they call on her. When Andrew Yang raises his hand he’s ignored,” tweeted one user, AY Greyson.
Another, using the handle FYou wrote: “It’s hard when he’s not given any time to speak.
Easy for Warren to get her message across because she’s allowed all that time to freaking speak. Biased ass debate.”
As people posted graphics showing Mr Yang was among those of the ten candidates who spoke the least in the first hour of the debate, Roman Yampolskiy wrote: ‘If media gave @AndrewYang equal time to speak he would be leading in the polls.”
Journalist Glenn Greenwald was impressed with Mr Yang’s response to the first question he received.
“Andrew Yang’s answer about the actual threats of the 21st Century was way too smart, thoughtful and substantive for cable news and presidential political generally,” he tweeted.
“Few things will affect humanity more than Artificial Intelligence in this century – almost never discussed.”
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