Earlier today (yesterday for those in the western hemisphere) we discovered that Facebook status updates have started to include links for hashtags and usernames. The exact reason behind the change was, at the time, unclear but we’ve since spoken to Twitter and the company confirmed that it has made changes to provide a richer experience for users that post Facebook status updates via the microblogging site.

A Twitter spokesperson told us that the firm has fixed a number issues with the integration and added features that include support for business pages, images and — as we earlier highlighted — links to hashtags and Twitter usernames:

We have fixed many issues with the Twitter for Facebook integration, including the ability to post to Facebook Pages, and added some new features.

The updated Twitter for Facebook integration now includes additional rich media experiences related to the first photo, URL, @mention or #hashtag in the cross-posted Tweet.

Those who already linked their Twitter and Facebook accounts and want to take advantage of the new features need to visit their Twitter profile settings page (here), and then disconnect and reconnect their accounts. That’s a bit of an inconvenience but well worth the effort.

The resulting integration is pretty impressive. When a tweet includes a photo, for example, the corresponding Facebook status update includes a thumbnail and link to click through to view the full photo, and other images from the user, on Twitter:

hello hummer2 horz1 520x157 Twitter: Yes, weve added photos, hashtags, usernames and more to our Facebook integration

Personally speaking, the full-on integration isn’t for me, as I tweet too often and cover topics that the majority of my Facebook friends have little interest in. However, others are likely to find it very valuable and the fact that tweets can be set to appear on a Facebook Page, has huge potential for business users, celebrities and others that run Pages and Twitter accounts.

There’s something to be said about managing content for each social media platform separately, but certainly the update has made it a far more robust and appealing option.

As we mentioned in the initial post earlier, the integration is significant and it is likely to sender larger numbers of Facebook’s 900 million users over to the microblogging platform. That in turn will help Twitter generate increased visibility and new users.

You can find more details about the Twitter-Facebook integration, and the changes that have been made, at the Twitter help centre.

Twitter’s update leaves Google very much out in the cold. Larry Page recently voiced his disappointment that social network is yet to open its user data to share with Google+ and other Google services.

The Google API requires services to reciprocate the data share and, since Facebook does not, a disconnect between two of the world’s most influential sites — which know more about Internet users than almost any others — has developed.

Image via Flickr / westm