Facebook is taking a page out of rival, Twitter’s playbook and allowing its members to use hashtags.
Although Facebook has more users than Twitter, about 655 million active daily users compared with Twitter’s 200 million, it hasn’t been as successful as Twitter at marketing itself as a place for online discussion.
Hashtags are a feature used to refer to the subject of a message, for example #ThrowbackThursday. Many TV shows regularly use hashtags to drive conversation on Twitter and the symbol has proven to be popular with advertising campaigns
Facebook has watched the use of hashtags for a while, and now it has adopted them. This means that your family and friends can litter your Facebook timeline with conversations about news events, TV shows and other hot topics using the same shorthand references.
Facebook project manager Greg Lindley introduced the adoption of hashtags and explained that they will work at Facebook just as they do everywhere else.
“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. We’ll continue to roll out more features in the coming weeks and months, including trending hashtags and deeper insights, that help people discover more of the world’s conversations,” He said.
Users are not limited to Facebook hashtags, so users can click on hashtags generated on other online services such as Instagram and Pintrest. Users can create Facebook posts from within their hashtag feed or search results.
Facebook is keen to promote its privacy settings so users will only see hashtagged posts from their friends, and from those who make their posts public.
The new search tool, which is currently available to 20 per cent of Facebook users, is expected to roll out across the site soon.
This may be fun to use in the short term but will it stop the exodus to Twitter in the long run?