Facebook Embraces Hashtags
Once again, Facebook is adopting the “me too” approach.
Hashtags, widely used on Twitter and Instagram to help users find and categorize information around a particular topic, have been introduced on Facebook. Hashtags use the # symbol attached to a word or phrase, such as #stanleycup or #networkingevent, enabling users to identify and participate in conversations within a larger community. Clicking a hashtag in your Facebook news feed will bring up posts from other personal profiles or business pages that used the same hashtag.
Facebook says that the introduction of hashtags is “the first step” to help people participate in public conversations. Interestingly, while most posts on Twitter are publicly viewable (except direct messages or posts by those with protected or private profiles), for the most part, personal Facebook posts have been out of the public eye, viewable only by those in your network.
An interview with a Facebook product manager published in the Washington Post says “posts that have been hashtagged … follow the same sharing and privacy rules as normal posts.”
Presumably, the Facebook product manager’s statement is intended to make users feel more confident about their privacy. If you’ve reviewed your privacy settings and share posts only with particular groups, you can be reasonably sure your future hashtag-laden posts will not be shared beyond your expectations. But for those who have not focused on their privacy settings, your posts could be more public than you bargained for.
How do you feel about this latest change by Facebook?