In a similar vein to the staple feature of rival site Twitter, Facebook has announced plans to introduce hashtags.
Just like on Twitter, the hashtag feature will enable users to view trending topics and what their friends are saying, grouping comments together by following the # symbol with a trending keyword.
It is believed that hashtags will make it easier for both SEO marketers and users to tap into hot topics, as it enables users to easily find and join in with debates and discussions.
Facebook’s director of platform partnerships and operations, Justin Osofsky, said:
“Between 88 and 100 million Americans log in to Facebook every night during prime time TV hours, which represents a significant opportunity for broadcasters, advertisers and our other partners.”
The company has previously acknowledged that users of the platform lack the ability to access a ‘larger view’ of events or topics and what other users are saying about them.
However, some observers are unclear if discussions on Facebook can garner the same attention they do on Twitter; while Tweets can be read by anyone, in the majority of cases Facebook posts are only visible to a user’s friends, or friends of friends.
Facebook has confirmed that hashtags will be the first in a series of new features to encourage wider discussions on popular topics. It has been confirmed that the Facebook hashtags will tie in with those on other social sites, including Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Facebook plans to offer hashtags to just a fifth of its user base to start with, followed by a global release.