The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is working on incorporating the #hashtag, mirroring the use on Twitter:
Facebook is testing whether to follow Twitter’s lead and allow users to click on a hashtag to pull up all posts about similar topics or events so it can quickly index conversations around trending topics and build those conversations up, giving users more reason to stay logged in and see more ads. Instagram, which Facebook acquired last year, already uses hashtags, allowing users to sort photos by the symbol.
Facebook’s work on a hashtag is a sign of the heightening battle between Facebook and Twitter, as both compete for mobile users and fight for advertising dollars. For years, Twitter and Facebook seemed to occupy different poles of the social-media spectrum. While Facebook was the home of close friends and family, Twitter was the real-time broadcasting device for the rest of the world.
Facebook’s already copied Twitter in the status people fill out (the more casual “what’s on your mind?” is close to Twitter’s “what’s happening?”), so this latest move isn’t all too surprising, in retrospect.