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Facebook introduces hashtags

NEW YORK — Facebook Inc. is introducing hashtags, the # signs used on Twitter and Instagram to identify topics being discussed.

Facebook said users will be able to click a hashtag to see a feed of discussions about a particular topic. For example, typing the number sign in front of ‘‘ladygaga’’ will turn the word into a link to posts about Lady Gaga.

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Facebook said hashtags are a first step toward making it easier for users to find out what others are discussing. It gave no details about other tools it might introduce. If Twitter’s use of hashtags is any indication, Facebook will probably incorporate them into its advertising business.

Hashtags will conform to users’ privacy settings, so putting a hashtag in a post that’s visible only to friends won’t make it show up elsewhere.

Facebook said it will make clickable hashtags available to users beginning on Wednesday. Though hashtags have not worked on Facebook until now, many people were using them anyway, having grown accustomed to using them on Twitter and Instagram.

Using hashtags will help users gain a larger view of what others are talking about, Facebook said.

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