C.L. from Ohio asks:
I see Facebook has hastags now, just like Twitter. If I use a hashtag, can anyone see my post or still just my friends?
Hashtags – denoted by the # key in front of a word – are a popular way to categorize and search on social media. For example, a post about Star Trek might be hashtagged #startrek or #startrekintodarkness. You’ll sometimes see a hashtag at the bottom of the screen of a television program, inviting viewers to comment on the show via social media. Using the hashtag allows people to search out other posts on that same topic. Just by clicking on the hashtags, you will be able to see other posts with the same hashtag. In order for the search function to work, the hashtags must be functional.
Up until now, a user could add a hashtag to a Facebook post, but nothing would happen if you clicked on it. Now that the links are active, you’ll be able to see other posts with the same hashtag.
Here’s an example of a Twitter hashtag:
An Instagram hashtag :
And a Pinterest example:
The good news is that using a hashtag on Facebook will not change your privacy settings. If only friends can view your posts, only friends will see your posts when they search using hashtags.
In the image below you’ll see my Facebook status bar. My privacy settings are on “Friends”, so if my friends were to click on a #worldstart hashtag, they would see my post. Other users would not.
I suspect you will see a flood of hoax posts on Facebook saying that hashtags will now permit strangers from other countries to peer into your soul, but don’t get worked up about it. As long as you have good privacy settings, you should be fine. Most importantly, hashtags are optional. You don’t have to use them and you don’t need to click on them.