Netflix has officially gone social in the U.S., and is now allowing friends to browse each others’ digital libraries so long as they have a Facebook account and a subscription to the streaming service.
Social integration between Facebook and Netflix has been a long time coming, and started rolling out officially on Wednesday. The new service adds two new sections to your Netflix line-up: “Friends Favorites,” a list of movies your friends have rated at four or more stars, and “Watched by your Friends,” which is pretty self-explanatory.
“There are few better ways to find a movie or TV series you’ll love than hearing about it from your friends,” said vice president of product innovation at Netflix Tom Willerer.
Netflix Social is limited from the get-go, as it is turned off by default. Once you turn it on, it only shares within Netflix itself. If you want to share what you’re watching directly on Facebook, you have to go to “social settings” under your account page to make the change. You can also un-share your more embarrassing watching habits, and stop videos from being shared with a pop-up that appears when a video begins.
The service will go live for every Netflix customer in the U.S. by the end of the week, but you have to turn it on yourself to get it started.
Netflix Social has actually been live for international customers for over a year. It was held up in America over the Video Protection Privacy Act, which outlaws the disclosure of video rentals. Congress recently overruled the law to allow Netflix to go social domestically.
New features like sharing your favorite movies and shows on Facebook for discussion will be rolling out some time in the near future.
On its face, social integration is a smart brand move for both Facebook and Netflix, but I don’t really see how it’s going to benefit users of either service in a big way. After all, now you’ll potentially have to explain to friends and family that Human Centipede is in your instant queue because you were “just curious.”