The long-circling rumors can be put to rest as Facebook announced today it will be supporting the use of hashtags in posts, giving users the ability to sort their discussions and discover shared interests. While users have already been using hashtags on Facebook – mainly for humorous effect – they will now be clickable links, like on other social platforms, and will take users to a separate feed with posts from other users using the same hashtag. According to the company, this and other related features will arrive “in the coming weeks and months.”
Facebook users’ personal privacy settings won’t be affected, as a user’s post with a hashtag will not show up on a public feed unless indicated. Additionally, if a user clicks on a hashtag, the feed will not only include public posts, but posts from their friends, as well. Specific hashtags will now also be searchable via the platform’s search bar, much like it is on Twitter.
Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine and Facebook-owned Instagram have also had hashtag functionality, making Facebook relatively late to include what the company itself called a “vital part of popular culture.” However, the company’s size alone can further push the popularity of hashtag use.
This news is just the most recent change announced by Facebook, which will soon be launching an updated news feed. Hashtag support is just the first phase of other changes planned to bring more public discussion to the platform, according to the company. This signals an obvious push by the company to enter the real-time marketing arena, which has been dominated by rival Twitter.
[Image Source: Facebook]