Facebook adds hashtag support

By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   June 12, 2013 at 4:18 PM   |   Comments

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Facebook has added support for hashtags to be clickable on the site.

The move will enable its 1.1 billion members to participate in what has become an integral part of most major social media networks. The hashtags provide a link to other users talking about the same things and are especially popular during major events and popular TV programming.

"Starting today, hashtags will be clickable on Facebook," the company wrote in a blog post. "Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion."

The move links Facebook with sites across social media and may help bridge the gap in young users.

Before the change, hashtags appeared but were dead text that served only to reference other social media trends. Now, they link to the topics or news that they reference.

"Hashtags are just like slang. And just like slang, people use them to show that they belong to the group that's in the know," said Jonah Berger, a social psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania.

Users will also be able to search for hashtags within the site and click through to see the hashtag on other sites such as Instagram.

This comes as Facebook continues to lose users to Twitter and Instagram and is seen as a move to attract younger users to the site.

Hashtags will only appear as links from the website, but will likely roll out on mobile devices within the coming weeks.

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