#Hastags Come to #Facebook
Today, it has been announced that Facebook is officially launching compatibility with #hastags. You know, the super popularĀ all-but-ubiquitous topic organization system that allows you to easily find similar interest and topics by clicking on the hashtag(ed) phrase?
Chances are that you’ve seen this functionality shining in all of its glory on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram.
“To be clear, there was nothing stopping you from including hashtags in your Facebook content before ā itās just that they didnāt have any real functionality. InĀ its blog post announcing the new feature, the company acknowledges that this isnāt exactly a new idea, noting that it will be āsimilar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterestā ā when you click on a hashtag, youāll get a feed of comments using the hashtag. Facebook says its capabilities will include searching for hashtags, clicking on hashtags that come from other services, and writing posts directly from the hashtag feed.
Hereās how Facebook explains the reasoning behind the addition:
Every day, hundreds of millions of people use Facebook to share their thoughts on big moments happening all around them. Whether itās talking about a favorite television show, cheering on a hometown sports team or engaging with friends during a breaking news eventāpeople on Facebook connect with their friends about whatās taking place all over the world. ā¦
To bring these conversations more to the forefront, we will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics. As a first step, we are beginning to roll out hashtags on Facebook.
Note that Facebook says itās only ābeginning to roll outā the feature, so you might not see it right away. (The company generally doesnāt turn on features for its entire user base at once, but instead rolls them out gradually.) Note also that the company says itās going to be introducing more features in this vein.
To illustrate the scale of the conversation on Facebook, the company notes that between 88 million and 100 million Americans are using the service during primetime television hours.Ā Game of Thronesā Red Wedding last week was mentioned 1.5 million times, while there were 66.5 million interactions (which include likes, comments and posts) around this yearās Oscars.
The blog post doesnāt go into somethingĀ we wondered aboutĀ when we started hearing about the feature in March ā privacy. The idea of a āpublic conversationā works differently on Facebook than it does on a service like Twitter, since many Facebook posts have some degree of privacy restriction.
A company spokesperson told me that from a privacy perspective, hashtags will work similarly to Facebook Graph Search. In other words, youāll only see the comments that youāre authorized to see. So if I include a hashtag in a friends-only post, then my friends will still be the only ones who can see it in a hashtag search.”
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