Using the simple ‘#’ sign to identify topical or ‘trending’ themes was first popularised online by the popular Twitter site.
Adding the hashtag sign to a word or name turns it into a clickable link – allowing fellow users to see what other people around the world are saying about the topic and assess its news status.
Facebook users have already adopted the symbol; its use can already be seen on the social media site thanks to the multiple sharing capabilities of many new programs and services. But until now these hashtags have served no function on Facebook:
“To date, there has not been a simple way to see the larger view of what’s happening or what people are talking about. To bring these conversations more to the forefront, we will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics,” the company announced yesterday.
The advent of various other services that support hashtags, like Pinterest, Instagram, tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn, has further improved the value and reach of all matter of campaigns from humanitarian and environmental causes to advertising.
In a statement released on the California-based company’s website, Facebook said the new function will offer users a “larger view of what’s happening”. Experts agree, arguing that it could aid the company’s ad sales.
“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,”the statement read.
“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.”
When clicking on the symbol, Facebook users will view a chronological ordered list of comments using the same word or term – this will include posts from people and pages that they are not connected with.
However users will still be able to control which Facebook users can view the hastags and accompanying posts.