Threads, Meta’s intimate messaging app, is now testing the ability to add hashtags to posts, bringing a core Twitter feature to its close friends-focused experience.
The experiment marks a notable expansion of Threads’ capabilities beyond simply sharing with your inner circle.
Hashtags allow you to categorize posts by topic
In his announcement, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Threads will allow users to add hashtags to posts, allowing them to tag and categorize content based on interests, events or topics.
Users can tap a new # symbol or type a hashtag. As you enter text, autocomplete suggestions appear. You can choose a recommended tag or create a custom one.
After publishing, hashtags appear as blue clickable links instead of being prefixed with #. Clicking on a hashtag shows other related posts.
Initial test launch in Australia
The hashtag trial begins first in Australia. Threads will iterate on the feature based on user feedback before expanding it to other countries soon.
Photo credit: threads
For now, only one hashtag can be added per post to limit spam. But this may restrict posts from various topics. Subsequently, threads could allow multiple hashtags.
Big expansion beyond messaging for close friends
The introduction of hashtags significantly expands threads beyond messaging close friends. It makes Threads a more social app for sharing interests with a broader group.
Until now, Threads focused on intimate conversations with your inner circle. Expanding to themed posts with hashtags opens up more traditional social media use cases.
The role of hashtags in social networks is debated
Hashtags became ubiquitous on Twitter and other platforms. But some wonder if they’re outdated relics, which makes this Threads test notable.
Meta can reinvent conventions like hashtags for modern users. This test will provide insight into whether tagged topics add value or are unnecessary in messaging apps.
If successful, hashtags could allow users to follow topics and events beyond the people they know. But the expansion may dilute the premise of Threads’ close friend.
Tight integration with Instagram is possible.
If adopted, Threads hashtags could be integrated with Instagram posts on shared topics. This would take advantage of Meta’s unified infrastructure.
Users can switch between an intimate Threads feed and a more public Instagram feed through the same hashtags. Meta is likely to explore synergies between its applications.
A shift towards open social discovery
The availability of hashtags transforms Threads from a private chat space to a more open social discovery environment.
It remains to be seen if users agree to interact with a broader audience in the threads. Meta is exploring whether some want more public connections.
But existing users may find this change not aligned with the original friend-focused vision and appeal of Threads. Maintaining a sense of intimacy can be challenging.
Balancing privacy with discovery
Expanding social features risks compromising the privacy of users in threads. Meta will have to be careful.
Adding hashtags creates a more public look alongside private messages. Users may not want tagged posts to be visible to a broader audience.
As with any thread change, privacy controls and transparency around reach and visibility will be crucial to building user trust.
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