#Finally. The arrival of hashtags to Facebook has finally been officially announced on Facebook's newsroom.
This critical missing element has caused a lack of communication between users that discourages networking and public conversations. As Facebook attempts to catch up to competitors who have evolved their platforms around networking and open discussion, we are left with the question: but what about privacy?
In comparison to Google+ and Twitter, I have always primarily used Facebook as a personal networking tool to keep up with friends and family. However, when Facebook unleashes hashtags it makes me raise a brow. It seems to be a reoccuring trend that any time Facebook releases updates to it's platform, privacy settings congruently evolve as well.
Online privacy is an ongoing issues in social media, and here are a few questions that Facebook hashtags have brought to mind:
- Will Facebook posts including hashtags be viewable to the public through the graph search tool?
- Will old Facebook statuses including hashtags be converted in to clickable, searchable hashtags?
- How will users with security-tight profiles be affected by the use of hashtags?
- Will the hashtag updates automatically alter Facebook privacy settings?
A Facebook spokesperson commented saying that from a privacy perspective, "hashtags will work similarly to graph search," which also leaves me wondering if the use of hashtags will promote a greater sense of openness and an increase in public posting if individuals want to jump in conversations.
The usefulness of a hashtag in conversing and networking on social media is inarguable, but as these changes are made to affect 1.11 billion active Facebook users, privacy is still on top of my mind.