Netflix to Add Social Features

Pretty soon you’ll be able to link your Netflix account with your Facebook account.

“We are pleased that the Senate moved so quickly after the House,” a Netflix spokesperson told TPM in a statement. “We plan to introduce social features for our US members in 2013, after the president signs it.”

Netflix has said since 2011 that it wants its American customers to have the ability to link their Netflix accounts with their Facebook accounts and share their watched movies with Friends online through the Netflix Facebook App.

Users in Canada and Latin America have had the ability to link Netflix and Facebook accounts and share viewed movies since 2011, but Netflix hasn’t moved to offer it in its home country, the U.S., yet, due to a 1988 law — the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). The law prohibits companies from disclosing “personally identifiable information,” including rental history, about any consumer, except in some special cases, such as for law enforcement investigations — or else they can be sued.

But now that law is being amended expressly to allow companies like Netflix to allow consenting customers to share video preferences through social media, thanks to the Senate passing a bill — the Video Privacy Protection Act Amendments Act of 2012 (sic) — unanimously on Thursday night.

I understand why Netflix would want this to happen since it amounts to free advertising, but why would anyone want to do this in an official capacity beyond just updating their Facebook status to say, “I just watched [so-and-so movie]”?

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