NEW YORK: Facebook is introducing hashtags, the number signs used on Twitter, Instagramand other services to identify topics being discussed and allow users to search for them.
Facebook Inc. said Wednesday that people will be able to click a hashtag to see a feed of discussions other users are having about a particular topic. For example, typing a number sign in front of “ladygaga” or “sunset” will turn the words into a link that users can click on to find posts about Lady Gaga or sunsets.
There’s no #stopping hashtags Facebook is confirming it will officially support the maddeningly ubiquitous categorization tool starting today, allowing users to #hashtag posts and making those hashtags #clickable.
Facebook says hashtags are a first step toward making it easier for users to find out what others are discussing. The company is not giving details about other tools it might introduce.
Clicking a hashtag will bring up a list of posts from friends and pages you follow that contain the tag. This apes how the hashtag works on other social networks, including Pinterest, Facebook’s Instagram, and Twitter, where satan users invented the semantic device on their own.
Facebook believes its significantly broader and more mainstream users are ready to adopt the geeky convention. For example, the Oscars drove more than 66 million Facebook likes, comments, and posts.
“People were already using hashtags on Facebook — we just made them clickable,” a spokesperson says.
Initial suppot for hashtags is limited to basic search; you cannot combine hashtags with other Graph Search options. There is also no #advertising support for hashtags yet, though it will be a natural and potentially lucrative product to sell ads against, as we noted when rumors of Facebook hashtags first surfaced in March.