If it is not broken, do not fix it. If it works, steal it. This is certainly Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s business model, and one of Facebook’s most favourable partnerships. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has decided that it works and they will do the same in an effort to sell even more ads.
As Will Oremus at Slate put it nearly perfectly:
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Where you see hashtags, Facebook sees dollar signs. Like so many recent Facebook experiments and site changes, the hashtag idea sounds clunky when you think about it from the user’s perspective, but rather ingenious when you consider it from a business perspective…. Hashtags — like Graph Search, emoji, its latest Timeline redesign, and just about everything else Facebook does — are yet another a way to get users to tell Facebook more about what they like, what they’re doing, what they’re interested in, and what they’re searching for at any given moment…. The move isn’t about showing users more ads. It’s about showing them more-effective ads.
It’s all about the ads; and what is a hashtag anyway? It’s been sitting there since my freshman year typing class. They don’t own it, Twitter, but they might as well. The pervasiveness of the hashtag, from obscurity to daily use, is one of the more iconic changes the online world has seen in the last few years.
One of Twitter’s largest issues has been its difficulty translating just how normal people are supposed to use the hashtag in the first place. When on-boarding new users, they’re faced with a litany of “at symbols” and hashtags, a language of Twitter’s own that isn’t immediately clear…. So Facebook’s widespread adoption of this language could actually bring the lexicon to the masses, essentially introducing a billion newbies to a gnarly language — one which Twitter is still trying to figure out how to introduce to users. Remember, Twitter: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
At the end of the day, the closer you come to being able to ignore Facebook’s advertising, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will find a way to inundate you with even more. Whether it is the redesign of a news feed or the stealing of others work, they have hundreds of people working to make sure that your free service is anything but free.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has billionaires. Twitter will soon. They are wholesale different entities. While I dislike theft at its basest form, I will not be tweeting, twitting about nor closing my Facebook account anytime soon.