Netflix Plans to Make Your Video Rental History Public

The company will roll out “social features”

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You leave a trail behind anytime you log on to your computer and browse. Just think about the last time you logged into your Amazon account and saw recommendations to purchase something based on your last viewed items. Now Netflix plans to share your history trail with your friends under its “social features” plan.

Sharing video rental histories has been illegal since the 1980s but Netflix has lobbied aggressively to amend the law to allow for their planned site changes. Under their policy, users who link their Facebook and Netflix accounts automatically give permission to their friends to view their movie-watching history, but can manually disable this function for select films.

“To adhere to the law, Netflix will have to provide users with a “clear and conspicuous” option to stop sharing and will also have to reconfirm that users want to continue sharing every two years,” said Sarah Downey, an attorney with the online privacy company Abine, to SocialTimes.com.

If the company can offer their users transparency and the ability to completely opt out of sharing their viewing history, the changes won’t be as shocking and invasive. But if the Internet streaming platform’s members distrust Netflix’s policy changes, it could change the way many users watch content. Controversial documentaries or films with either explicit or political content may see fewer clicks.

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