The Facebook hashtag will be rolling out in the coming weeks, seeking to deepen the competition with rival social media site Twitter. The feature was first hinted at in March, with Facebook exploring how it could implement the popular function. Facebook acknowledged that, while Twitter has been the go to social media source for self made reporters, they were seen more as a family and friend site.
The Facebook hashtag feature, much like its function on Twitter, can be added to posts and made clickable. Words that begin with the symbol will be automatically grouped together. When accessed, the hashtag displays the other mentions of its topic in other Facebook posts. The hashtag is just one piece of Facebook's efforts to make things easier to find on the site, where singular posts and topics can become lost in the social media shuffle.
Mobile users of Facebook will have to wait a bit longer than desktop users to fully adopt the hashtag, Facebook also alluded to other features on the horizon that will allow for easier conversations to be held, rather than a simple cluster of posts.
Trending topics in particular are of interest to Facebook, as they can be paired with lucrative advertising. Whether celebrity gossip, or focused on a popular TV show, the Facebook hashtag can unite conversation, and in real time as well. Before the rollout of the feature, users were faced with difficulty in topic tracking, short of forming a cohesive group.
Facebook declined to use its own symbol due to the well-known status of the hashtag on other social media, like Instagram and Tumblr. The hashtag symbol was created in 2007, the brainchild of Chris Messina. Messina now works for Google Plus. Twitter declined to offer comment on the adoption of what has been one of their key defining features.
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