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March 15, 2013

The Hashtag May Be Coming to Facebook

If you hate Twitter’s hashtags, brace yourself — rumor has it Facebook is thinking of using the symbol on its site to group conversations.

As yet, it is not known how far along Facebook is in its incorporation of Twitter’s iconic hashtag, but the feature will not be introduced right away, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

The hashtag, which is used frequently on Twitter, is used to group events, topics or messages. For instance, those tweeting about U.S. President Barack Obama could use hashtags such as #Obama or #BarackObama.

The sources told the WSJ Facebook is in the testing phase. The social media site is apparently testing if allowing its members to click on hashtags to pull up posts on the same topic or event, rather than doing a more traditional search, will enhance user experience. It would also allow the site to not only index conversations according to topic, but hype trending conversations to keep users logged in and, in turn, see more ads, the report said.

Facebook-owned Instagram already uses hashtags to better enable its users to categorize their photos.

There is no love lost between Facebook and Twitter and that is unlikely to change much if Facebook opts to capitalize on the concept.

The rivalry heated up late last year when Facebook-owned Instagram disabled photo integration with Twitter.  Twitter hit back by launching its own set of photo filters.

The two social networks are in a continuous  battle to win mobile users and advertising dollars.