Jumping on the Twitter bandwagon, Facebook is now allowing users to keep track of trending topics through the introduction of hashtags.
The social media giant, fresh from an investor scolding this week, announced the changes yesterday, a change driven by the increasing popularity of the symbol.
Adopting the same workings of a Twitter hashtag, Facebook insists the move offers a "larger view of what's happening of what people are talking about."
"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," says Facebook's Greg Lindley in a statement.
"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."
Similar to other services such as Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, or Pinterest, Lindley says hashtags on Facebook allows users to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion.
"When you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you'll see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic," he says.
"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.
"As a first step, we are beginning to roll out hashtags on Facebook."
Aiding ad sales?
Unlike Twitter however, at present Facebook doesn't allow advertisers to post specific hashtags to target users, but social media experts believe this could change.
"I think they saw the success Twitter had with the concept and they saw no reason why they shouldn't co-opt some of that thinking themselves," comments Andrew Frank, social media analyst, Gartner.
"Hashtags are also popular with advertisers. They are a way to extend the value and reach of advertising."
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