Twitter tests hashtag code-breaker feature

Posted on August 4, 2014


Popular social network Twitter has been working on a new feature that would explain to users the meanings behind confusing hashtags.

The site encounters millions of hashtags per day, with many people struggling to understand the more ambiguous and unfamiliar ones that crop up on their newsfeeds. As Twitter only allows its users to send tweets containing 140 characters, many hashtags are shortened and use abbreviations, such as #tbt, which stands for ‘Throwback Thursday’, and #HIMYM, a shortened version of TV sitcom ‘How I Met Your Mother’.

The new feature deciphers these hashtags for users, making it easier for them to understand what the latest worldwide trending term is all about. Once a hashtag is clicked and a user is taken to the page that displays all the relevant tweets, the social platform will make space at the top of the page where the hashtag is displayed and give its meaning underneath.

This feature is currently in its test phase; online news suppliers are unaware of the scale of the experiment and how long it will last. It is believed that the facility is being trialled on iOS versions of the app and, once the network has accumulated enough data, it will decide whether or not to roll it out across all versions.

It is not uncommon for the California-based micro-blogging platform to trial certain features before deciding to introduce them permanently, although many new tools are tested extensively only to be scrapped.

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