The WSJ has a report today that Facebook is considering using Twitter style hashtags to help people stay up to date with breaking stories and key conversations on its social networking platform.
According to the paper hashtags are currently being tested so that users can track conversations about specific topics. The paper also notes that Facebook has been using hash tags by stealth since its acquisition of the Instagram image sharing service which uses them
The paper says
Facebook is testing whether to follow Twitter’s lead and allow users to click on a hashtag to pull up all posts about similar topics or events so it can quickly index conversations around trending topics and build those conversations up, giving users more reason to stay logged in and see more ads. Instagram, which Facebook acquired last year, already uses hashtags, allowing users to sort photos by the symbol.
So is this a god idea – of just further evidence that Facebook is becoming more like Twitter and vice versa?
Well in some ways people are already using hash tags on Facebook. People who joint post to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously have to keep to Twitter’s rules – so that means less than 160 characters and sometimes use of hash tags.
Some Facebook users will post hash tags to highlight certain topics to underline to their friends that they are posting about a specific issue.
I could see hash tags on Facebook working well. It will be interesting to see how they operate though. Would you just be presented with posts from your friends? Or would you also be able to see fan pages? I guess to make it work properly you would also need to see posts from people you aren’t friends with too.