Netflix CEO and Facebook board member Reed Hastings is convinced that Facebook’s “frictionless sharing” system would be great to tie into Netflix’s streaming service. “Frictionless sharing” would allow Netflix subscribers to easily notify their Facebook friends any time they watch a movie on the streaming service.
However, any such integration won’t be up and running any time soon. Hastings has stumbled upon a tiny little problem — the U.S. government. The Video Privacy Protection Act currently prevents users’ video viewing data from being shared, which is why Hastings is backing a bill, currently tied up in the Senate, that will change the VPPA.
Even if the law passes, it won’t necessarily be the solution to all of Netflix’s problems. In fact, it may just bring up another problem. Many Netflix subscribers have absolutely no desire to know what their Facebook friends are watching. A survey conducted by Citi analysts revealed that 7 out of 10 Netflix subscribers are “not interested at all” in “seeing what their Facebook friends have watched on Netflix.”
Furthermore, those 30 percent who might actually be interested in sharing could do so by posting that information themselves on Facebook, Twitter, or even a TV check-in service. It seems there must be an easier way for Netflix to gain popularity than to change laws and invade privacy. Nice try, Hastings, but no cigar.
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