Facebook Embraces Hashtags

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.

FB hashtags

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?

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2 Comments

  1. Jacqui

    I get really uncomfortable about all my private information getting shared publicly. It feels like Facebook is constantly changing the rules and it’s hard to always keep up with the privacy settings. As long as I don’t use hashtags on my personal page I shouldn’t have to worry about my private information being viewable to non-friends – should I?

    Reply
    1. Online Amplify

      I understand how you feel, Jacqui. It is very difficult to keep up with all the technology changes. Regarding your privacy concern, while a hashtag is not likely to be the cause of your posts being seen by people other than those you intended to see them, it’s important to be attentive to privacy settings on Facebook if you are using it personally. Set aside a few minutes to be aware of the ways you can control who sees your posts: https://www.facebook.com/help/privacy

      Reply

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