At long last, Facebook has introduced hashtags, terms following the “#” sign first introduced by Twitter and used by a variety of social networks to categorize topics and allow for easier searching.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Facebook Inc. announced that users will be able to click hashtags they use on posts to see a feed of discussions about a chosen topic. Nothing was stopping many Facebook users from implementing hashtags in their posts before, but they didn’t really have any functionality. Now they will.
“Every day, hundreds of millions of people use Facebook to share their thoughts on big moments happening all around them. Whether it’s talking about a favorite television show, cheering on a hometown sports team or engaging with friends during a breaking news event—people on Facebook connect with their friends about what’s taking place all over the world. …
“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.”
They admitted that they’re catching up a little bit and that hashtags won’t be anything new. They’ll work “similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest.”
You probably won’t see them right away, as Facebook usually rolls out new changes slowly. They also promised more to come in the vein of hashtags, but whether or not they’ve got a fresh spin or a new trick up their sleeves, they didn’t say.
Anthony Ha of TechCrunch brought up a good question regarding how hashtags will work differently on Facebook, especially in terms of privacy. A company spokesperson told him that hashtags will work similarly to Graph Search, so you’ll only see comments you’re authorized to see.
For example, if you include a hashtag in a friends-only post, only your friends will see it when they search the hashtag.
What do you think of Facebook’s introduction of hashtags? Is it about time?