Netflix Looks for Ways Users Can Share Habits Selectively on Facebook

Sep 2, 2014

Perhaps you've seen an option on Netflix, the video rental and streaming company, to share your movie watching habits with others via Facebook. Did you opt in? Like many people, perhaps you didn't. 

Netflix is now trying something new that it hopes will work better to let you share viewing interests with your social circle. 

The old option provided a steady, automatic stream on Facebook of everything you watched on Netflix, without choices to limit what appeared. The information could get out to a potentially wide-reaching range of people. Netflix realized that most people don't want share their viewing habits with large audiences, and therefore they wouldn't link their account with Facebook.

The company is now giving its subscribers a more discreet way to recommend movies and television shows to their Facebook friends. On Tuesday, Netflix embraces a new system that the company says will empower subscribers to select which friends will receive their video recommendations.

A Netflix envelope.
Credit Marit and Toomas Hinnosaar / Creative Commons

A menu of friends culled from Facebook will appear after Netflix subscribers finish watching a video -- that is, if they have turned on the sharing feature. Watch the company's video below:

Cameron Johnson, director of product innovation for Netflix, told Mashable the company is trying to emulate how people talk about movies and television in their real lives. The online interaction is the modern water cooler. "For us," Johnson said, "it's about trying to find a new social model that works for on demand television. Most people already tell their friends about TV shows or movies they like. We're trying to make that experience seamless and quick within Netflix."

If you give it a try, let us know how it goes for you -- and if you end up following up on your own friends' recommendations, too.

This report includes information from The Associated Press.