According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is currently testing the popular hash tag symbol (#) on their site. The feature will give users the ability to search for similar topics of interest to them like “#charliesheen” or “#popefrancis.”
For the last five years, the hash tag search has been a feature found most commonly on Twitter feeds, but with Facebook’s 2011 purchase of the popular photo-sharing application Instagram, it’s starting to become a familiar presence across all news feeds. This includes the likes of sites like Google+ and even just recently, the professional networking site LinkedIn.
Hash tags help to keep a user tuned in to the site for a longer duration of time, and Facebook knows all too well that how long a user is tuned in is increasingly important to their shareholders. The more time on the site means more time viewing their advertisements. And as we’ve mentioned before, Facebook is working diligently this year to make sure their site is friendlier for businesses.
On the flip side, the team over at Twitter is not idly standing by watching other sites increase their functionality, they are also adding sales staff and releasing more new features to their site. This is in an effort to please both advertisers that purchase advertising directly through their site as well as through third party vendors.
Facebook has declined to comment on the recent reports regarding the hash tag implementation, and instead has focused attention onto the recent release of their new site design. Company executives say the new layout focuses on the company’s goal of becoming a “personalized newspaper” for their users.