Facebook officially rolls out hashtags

Updated 02 July 2013

Facebook officially rolls out hashtags

Facebook just launched the ability to follow conversations via hashtags, as was reported in March.
To be clear, there was nothing stopping you from including hashtags in your Facebook content before — it’s just that they didn’t have any real functionality. In its blog post announcing the new feature, the company acknowledges that this isn’t exactly a new idea, noting that it will be “similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest” — when you click on a hashtag, you’ll get a feed of comments using the hashtag. Facebook says its capabilities will include searching for hashtags, clicking on hashtags that come from other services, and writing posts directly from the hashtag feed.
NBA Facebook Hashtag by The Social Clinic
Here’s how Facebook explains the reasoning behind the addition:
Every day, hundreds of millions of people use Facebook to share their thoughts on big moments happening all around them. Whether it’s talking about a favorite television show, cheering on a hometown sports team or engaging with friends during a breaking news event—people on Facebook connect with their friends about what’s taking place all over the world. …
To bring these conversations more to the forefront, we will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics. As a first step, we are beginning to roll out hashtags on Facebook.
Note that Facebook says it’s only “beginning to roll out” the feature, so you might not see it right away. (The company generally doesn’t turn on features for its entire user base at once, but instead rolls them out gradually.) Note also that the company says it’s going to be introducing more features in this vein.
To illustrate the scale of the conversation on Facebook, the company notes that between 88 million and 100 million Americans are using the service during primetime television hours. Game of Thrones‘ Red Wedding last week was mentioned 1.5 million times, while there were 66.5 million interactions (which include likes, comments and posts) around this year’s Oscars.
The blog post doesn’t go into something we wondered about when we started hearing about the feature in March — privacy. The idea of a “public conversation” works differently on Facebook than it does on a service like Twitter, since many Facebook posts have some degree of privacy restriction.
A company spokesperson said that from a privacy perspective, hashtags will work similarly to Facebook Graph Search. In other words, you’ll only see the comments that you’re authorized to see. So if you include a hashtag in a friends-only post, then only friends will still be the only ones who can see it in a hashtag search.


10-year-old Bangladeshi’s communication app creates buzz

Updated 20 January 2020

10-year-old Bangladeshi’s communication app creates buzz

  • “I thought we should have something of our own, which inspired me to start working on my communication app”: Ayman Al-Anam

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi fifth-grader’s new communication app — Lita Free Video Calls and Chat — has created a huge buzz among local internet users. Already, 10,500 people have downloaded the app from the Google Play Store since Saturday.

Ayman Al-Anam submitted the app to Google on Dec. 27. After scrutiny and manual verification, Google uploaded the app on its Play Store on Dec. 31.

 “Currently, Bangladeshi internet users are mostly dependent on apps like WhatsApp, Viber and Imo for communication overseas,” Al-Anam told Arab News.

“I thought we should have something of our own, which inspired me to start working on my communication app.”

It took the 10-year-old 10 months to create the app, which he said he accomplished by himself, without the help of any mentor. “I learned the process through different YouTube tutorials. The rest was just trial and error,” he added.

 The app provides better-quality, high-definition video calls to its users. It also works for transferring big data in a shorter amount of time compared to similar apps.

Al-Anam’s success at such an early age has surprised his parents. “From a very early age, my son had a knack for technology, and I encouraged him to pursue it. He used to spend his free time in front of computers, smartphones and other devices,” said proud father Tauhedush Salam Nishad. “I always supported him, but I never dreamed that he’d see this sort of success so young.”

Recalling the first successful test run of the new app, Nishad said: “One night, I returned home from work and Ayman took my smartphone and installed the raw file of the app. Later, he did the same with his mother’s phone and connected the two devices with a video call. It was the best moment in his life. He shouted with joy, ‘I did it!’” 

Al-Anam named the app after his mother Lita. The young inventor is currently studying at South Point School and College in Chattogram, 248 km from the capital. He dreams of becoming a software engineer and wants to work at Google headquarters.

His creation has drawn much attention from local experts. “We should nurture this sort of extraordinary talent very carefully,” Prof. Mohammad Kaikobad of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology told Arab News.

 “This new generation will lead the technology world of tomorrow if they’re guided and encouraged properly.”