June 13, 2013
Facebook Rolls Out Clickable Hashtags
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Facebook announced on Wednesday that it has added support for clickable hashtags to allow its 1.1 billion members to enjoy the same popular feature used on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest.
Hashtags, denoted by the “#” symbol, let users tag their posts with phrases that associate their remarks with larger, real-time dialogues about events, breaking news, celebrity gossip and other popular topics.
The new feature announced on Wednesday means that Facebook users will now find that hashed words and phrases are clickable, whereas before they were dead text.
"Starting today, hashtags will be clickable on Facebook. Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion," wrote Facebook product manager Greg Lindley in a blog posting on Wednesday.
"When you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you'll see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic."
Facebook users can also search the social network based on hashtags, click on a hashtag to view a list of posts people have put in the category, click on hashtags originating from other services such as Instagram and compose status updates from the hashtag feed.
Posts that have been hashtagged, however, will follow the same sharing and privacy rules as normal posts, something unique to the social network. This means that the only people who can see a user´s tagged words are those permitted to view normal posts. However, clicking on the hashtag will show public posts, as well as posts from friends who have allowed a user to see their post.
For now, it looks as if Facebook's hashtags work on the Web only, but additional features will be rolled out in the coming weeks and months, Lindsey said.
"Hashtags are just the first step to help people more easily discover what others are saying about a specific topic and participate in public conversations.”
By introducing hashtags, Facebook is seeking to become more of a public forum.
The move comes at a critical time for the social network as it loses relevance with teenagers who are turning to other services such as Twitter and Instagram.
Facebook has more users than Twitter — about 655 million active daily users compared with Twitter´s 200 million — but the company hasn´t been as successful as Twitter at marketing itself as a place for online discussion.
Facebook also faces fierce competition for advertisers since search plays such an important role in consumers' purchasing decisions.
"Facebook and hashtags are two words social marketers absolutely must pay attention to," said Michael Lazerow, chief marketing officer of Salesforce Marketing Cloud in an interview with USA Today.
"The door is open for companies to better discover their customers' immediate interests, creating the potential for increased real-time marketing based around ongoing pop culture, sports and other major events," he added.
Additional information on how to use Facebook´s hashtags can be found at the company´s Help Center.