Threads May Be Looking to Change How Hashtags Work in the App

Threads May Be Looking to Change How Hashtags Work in the App

This is interesting in the broader context of the hashtag usage debate among social media creators that’s happening right now.

Over the past few months, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has been reiterating to all who’ll listen that hashtags don’t increase post reach in the app.

Mosseri has also noted that hashtags can help to align your posts with certain communities, which can have some discovery benefits. But overall, the benefit of hashtags, as noted by Mosseri in the above clip, is none, or not much.

Which is similar to what we’ve heard from other apps. LinkedIn, for example, told SMT back in January that hashtags don’t have as big of an impact as they once did, because modern platform algorithms are able to take into account more contextual indicators, like the full text of the post, the account, the people who engage with it, etc.

Based on all of this, hashtags aren’t necessarily as needed as a guide anymore.

But maybe, on Threads at least, they actually are.

As uncovered by app researcher Alessando Paluzzi, Threads is seemingly testing a new means to boost hashtag use, via reminders in the composer flow, and through, potentially, the addition of the actual “#” marker before the tag.

Threads tags

Which is not how tags on Threads work at present, with the Threads team deliberately moving away from the traditional # format with its introduction of tags last November.

But maybe, given the brevity of Threads posts, and the real-time nature of engagement, Threads actually does need more specific indicators to align the right conversations with interested users.

That makes sense. At present, for example, Threads is using profile penalties to reduce the presence of political content in the app, likely because it can’t always detect such in short Threads updates. So if a profile posts a lot of political content, it gets a reach penalty by default, for all of its posts.

So maybe, the Threads algorithm actually does need more context to go on, in order to properly filter and sort posts.

It’s also worth noting that Threads also made the deliberate move to limit how many tags you can add to a post in order to stop people from spamming popular tags.

Maybe that’s now considered enough of a measure to limit hashtag abuse, and now, Threads is going to move to a new stage of using actual hashtags, in order to drive more engagement.

This is just an early test, and the Threads team hasn’t shared any official advice as yet.

But as noted, it’s an interesting experiment within the broader hashtag debate.

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