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Is Facebook poised to copy Twitter’s trademark hashtag?

15th Mar 2013
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Social news sites have gone into frenzy today over new rumours that Facebook is soon to start copying Twitter’s iconic hashtag concept.

According to the original report in the Wall Street Journal, Zuckerberg’s network will use the symbol as a way to aggregate users’ conversations and, similarly to Facebook-owned Instagram, will begin to index posts around trending topics or events.

But the feature isn’t likely to be introduced just yet, say WSJ’s source, so there’s a little while to wait before any of this is confirmed.

Of course, this is enough to send the social sphere into overdrive about the Facebook/Twitter #war, as well as speculation over the amount of dollars Facebook hashtags will bring.  

The WSJ said in its report: “Facebook's work on a hashtag is a sign of the heightening battle between Facebook and Twitter, as both compete for mobile users and fight for advertising dollars.

“For years, Twitter and Facebook seemed to occupy different poles of the social-media spectrum. While Facebook was the home of close friends and family, Twitter was the real-time broadcasting device for the rest of the world.”

TechCrunch said of the news: “Our sources tell us that it’s too early to know if the feature will end up making it into Facebook’s user experience or whether it will hit the chopping block. But with the company’s focus on slicing up information into feeds with its News Feed makeover, the incorporation of linked hashtags makes sense.

“Currently, Graph Search doesn’t crawl all of our posts, so it would seem like the hashtag feature would have to wait until that gets rolled out.”

Drew Olanoff from TechCrunch is right; the introduction of hashtags does make sense for Facebook as the next step following the recent changes to its newsfeed.

But from a user perspective, there are already enough Twitter hashtag spammers, or users that misuse hashtags to warrant them as spammers – it’s fair to say that the problem is likely to transfer from one network to the other. One hashtag at a time.


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