Facebook hashtags roll out, to help with ‘public conversations’

Posted at 1:11 PM, Jun 13, 2013

Hashtags are coming to Facebook to help users’ better search and catalog conversations.

The company said Wednesday that the new feature will help users discover what others are saying about a specific topic and participate in public conversations

Hashtags, unique and often cryptic terms preceded by a hash mark (“#”), are specially tracked and aggregated on Twitter as they will be on Facebook. Twitter shows which tags are trending, and clicking on a hashtag brings up other posts with the same tag.

Recent examples would be #NBAFinals, #FathersDay or #UsOpen

The social network wants to make it easier for users to find content already on Facebook, and functional hashtags are the first step.

According to Facebook, many users already post hashtags anyway, as many users already have their accounts connected with social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, which feature hashtags. That’s why the hashtags show up on Facebook already, but they will soon be clickable for all.

Facebook is surely interested in the additional vector hashtags can provide for advertisers. On Twitter, advertisers can pay to promote their own hashtags alongside Twitter’s list of most common hashtags.

Per the company’s page, now users can:

• Search for a specific hashtag from your search bar. For example, #NBAFinals.
• Click on hashtags that originate on other services, such as Instagram.
• Compose posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results.

You can control the audience for your posts, including those with hashtags.

“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,”  the company wrote.

Twitter user Chris Messina created in 2007 the hashtag as we know it today. Twitter eventually adopted the system of organizing tweets around a certain subject into its API and its broader ecosystem. Since then, the hashtag has been adopted by other services, including Flickr, Tumblr, Google+ and even Facebook-owned Instagram.

***CNN wire reports contributed to this article***