Netflix today launched a new social recommendation feature to let its users suggest movies and TV shows to their Facebook friends. It is available starting today on the Netflix website, iOS, PS3, Xbox, and many set-top boxes and smart TVs, though the company says it will be adding additional platforms “in the coming months.”
It’s worth emphasizing that the feature is only available when you finish watching a movie or episode (Netflix specifically says “shows” in its announcement, but we confirmed with the company that films are also included). This should, in theory, reduce the chance of being spammed with recommendations by your friends.
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After watching, you’ll be prompted to connect your Facebook account if you haven’t already (Netflix promises it will not post to Facebook or share what you watch to your friends’ News Feed). Then you can pick which friends to share with, add an optional message, and hit Send.
Your friends will receive the recommendation the next time they log into Netflix, not when they’re on Facebook. They can thank you for the recommendation, and if they watch it or add it to their list, you’ll get a notification in return.
Friends who have not yet connected Netflix and Facebook will receive your recommendation as a private message on Facebook Messenger. If you want to avoid this, it seems the only way to prevent such messages would be to unfriend certain individuals on Facebook.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that Netflix very much believes in Facebook’s mantra that certain activities are just better with friends. Many of us have experienced this: “You know that feeling when you’ve watched something really great, something that moves you or makes you laugh, and you immediately think of someone else who would love it too?”
Yet the “privately” part in the headline is the key part here. Netflix users have been able to share what they watch on Facebook for a while now.
Being able to directly communicate with friends over Facebook, yet without potentially letting everyone know, is part of a larger shift for the social network. Most users now communicate privately just as much, if not more, than they post statuses or on each other’s’ walls.
Image credit: Peter Szustka