Is the battle between Facebook and Twitter heating up? Today the Wall Street Journal revealed that Facebook has plans to start testing the familiar # symbol, or hashtag, into its service, mimicking Twitter’s tagging system. A hashtag on Twitter is an organizational tagging system that allows users to create a feed of messages all relating to the same topic. It’s thought that Facebook would use the hashtag in a similar way, allowing users to sort and collate posts in their News Feed by like content.
While Facebook already allows users to tag brands or celebrities that they subscribe to with the Twitter-like @ symbol, if the social networking giant were to incorporate hashtags it would be the largest co-opting of Twitter identity yet. However, the hashtag isn’t exclusive to the 140-character service. Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook last year, uses the same system to sort photos by the hashtags.
Not only is Facebook considering making an end run around Twitter today, it’s also going around Google Play for Android users. Rather than waiting for the Google Play store to alert and then push an update to the Facebook Android app, the app is downloading automatically and then beeping or vibrating until you install it, according to Liliputing.
This new version of the app is said to allow you to change your profile picture from the app, hide stories and report spam, and start group messages more quickly. But some are objecting to the fact that this app will not alert you before it does download the update. Reportedly, Facebook says the goal of this is to “make sure everyone is using the best version of our app.”