Facebook Emulating Twitter Responses Using The @ Symbol

Posted Sep 10, 2009

This past March, early Facebook investor Peter Thiel revealed how Facebook attempted to buy out Twitter. The offer was $100 million in cash and $400 million in stock options. Twitter refused so Facebook bought out FriendFeed several months later. On top of buying out a Twitter competitor, Facebook is now taking an idea from Twitter and rolling it into their own social network. This idea revolves around responses using the “@” symbol.

Here’s how it works. When putting the @ symbol before a Twitter username, you are essentially responding to them. This response is sent to the user using whatever Twitter software they prefer such as TweetDeck. Now Facebook is adding the same feature within their own service. Below is a screenshot of how it’ll work.

Below is an excerpt from the Facebook blog by engineer Tom Occhino:

Now, when you are writing a status update and want to add a friend?s name to something you are posting, just include the ?@? symbol beforehand. As you type the name of what you would like to reference, a drop-down menu will appear that allows you to choose from your list of friends and other connections, including groups, events, applications and Pages. Soon, you?ll be able to tag friends from applications as well. The ?@? symbol will not be displayed in the published status update or post after you?ve added your tags.

Friends you tag in your status updates will receive a notification and a Wall post linking them to your post. They also will have the option to remove tags of themselves from your posts. We hope that tagging your status updates and others posts from the Publisher will enable you to share in a more meaningful and engaging way, and connect with even more people. We?re rolling this feature out over the course of the next few weeks, so you may not see the new feature just yet.