What You Need to Know About the New Facebook Hashtags and Privacy

by rocketmatter-admin June 17, 2013

Facebook took a page from Twitter and got hashtags. Facebookers were using it anyway, but now it’s official and searchable. A hashtag is a word or a phrase prefixed with the symbol # that is usually related to the topic of your social media status update. Hashtags are searchable across the entire platform (not just those you’re connected to) by simply clicking on it.
Since Facebook hashtags are now clickable and discoverable via search, what does it mean for the typical user?
Marie Smith, who knows all things Facebook, offered the following information via, of course, a Facebook status update:

    • Hashtags work on personal profile posts, fan page posts, group posts, event posts, and all comments.
    • As with all personal profile features on Facebook, privacy settings prevail.
    • If you publish a post on your profile to friends only, and the post contains a hashtag – yes, the hashtag will be clickable and open up to display all other posts on Facebook containing that hashtag.
    • But, ONLY friends can see friends-only posts that show up in hashtag searches.
    • Public posts—with or without hashtags—are public.
    • Private (friends-only) posts—with or without hashtags—are just that: private and visible to friends only.
    • Even when friends include hashtags in comments on your friends-only thread, your post is still private and visible just to your friends.

  • With hashtags shared in private groups, that clickable hashtag will open to show public posts with that tag (along with any friends’ posts with that tag), but posts from the private group would only show to members.
  • Individual comments on threads do not surface in hashtag searches; just posts show in searches.

In a nutshell, anyone can click on or search for a hashtag, but your privacy settings will determine if your status update with hashtag shows up in the results. And regardless of your privacy settings, only posts – not comments – containing hashtags will show up in search results.
Now may be the time to review your privacy settings for status updates. I changed mine from “public” to “friends” a couple of years ago since Facebook is a platform for my more intimate connections and engagement. For more information on privacy setting with the new Facebook hashtags, check out Keven O’Keefe’s post: Hashtags coming to Facebook, may wish to change privacy settings.
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