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Report says #Facebook #to #adopt #hashtags

Get ready for a SHIFT-fight with Twitter

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Facebook is preparing to adopt hashtags, the folksonomy feature beloved of Twitter users and the microblogging service itself.

Hastags grew out of a practice employed by gossipers on Internet Relay Chat (IRC), who used the “#” character to group discussions into channels.

Twitter users started doing the same in around 2007, and did so in sufficient volume that hashtags.org summoned itself into existence to promote and curate the tags.

The concept took off in 2009 when Twitter hyperlinked hashtags and ensured a click would perform a search that listed all tweets using the tag. That's fun for Reg readers at a conference, or crowds at concerts or sporting events, because it makes it easy to see who else tweeted about the event and what they said.

Marketers have tried to seed their own hashtags – it's a rare IT event at which the 'official' hashtag is not announced before the keynote - so they can mine and/or monitor the resulting stream of tweets about the event.

That's obviously a potent research tool, therefore became rather popular and probably also became a reason to send Twitter money for a subscription to its feeds or for API access. That seems also to have made Facebook jealous, as The Social Network has now revealed to The Wall Street Journal it wants to adopt hashtags so it can home in on Twitter's racket improve its recently-revamped search service.

Just when Facebook will implement hashtags isn't yet known. Nor is Twitter's reaction, although the company is not shy of disrupting access to its data if it thinks consumption will be deleterious to its health,as it did in the case of PeopleBrowsr. ®

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