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Hashtags Still Missing in Facebook - Blog

Posted on: 28-05-2013

UPDATE 12/6/2013: Facebook finally supports hashtags as of a few days ago!

Even if you don't know what they are, you've probably seen or heard of hashtags. Basically, they are a way of grouping and categorising related posts in social media. This makes it easier to find related posts via searches in social media websites supporting it. When you make a post on social media website supporting it, you can include one or more hashtags.

For example:

Finished work, now it's time for dinner and some drinks! #drinks #finishedwork #dinnertime

You often here about hashtags on radio or might even see them in the bottom corner of the screen when watching you favourite TV shows. The idea is that you can then make a comment about a TV show or a topic on radio, on Twitter or other social websites and this will group other people's comments with yours, so everyone can join the same conversation.

Even though hashtags made it into the main stream quite some time ago, Facebook still hasn't caught up. People are free to put hastags in status updates and comments, but they are not converted to any kind of link and don't do anything. Facebook does allow you to tag friends in comments and status updates just by typing their name, but implementing hashtag support as well could be powerful.

It is not clear whether or not Facebook will at any point be supporting hashtags. If they were going to, surely they would have done it by now. Maybe they believe that their current tagging support is enough. Maybe there are other complications to be considered. Such as how Facebook's privacy settings usually only allow you to see posts (and potentially hashtags) from friends and friends of friends. This would cripple the potential power of the hashtag, because instead of a “global” conversation, it would just be restricted to your friends. Whereas Twitter is much more open.

Facebook's lack of support certanly doesn't stop people trying to use hashtags in every post. If Facebook ever does support hashtags, the hashtags used in these posts should become active. However, it might be best to stick with Facebook's current tagging support for photos, status updates and comments for the time being.

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