Netflix prompts users to recommend content to Facebook friends

3 Sep 2014

Netflix is attempting to make its streaming experience more social with a new feature that allows users to privately recommend shows and movies to friends on Facebook.

Connecting a Netflix account to Facebook already allows users to automatically share what they have watched with friends on the content homepage, but this new feature actively encourages users to make recommendations to specific friends.

Now, after a series episode or a film ends, users will be prompted to send it as a suggestion to friends who they think may also enjoy it.

Users will have to connect to their Facebook account to enable this feature, which will display friends’ names and profile pictures. Netflix users can then search and select multiple mates to receive the recommendation.

Friends will receive recommendations the next time they log into Netflix. Or, if they’re not Facebook-connected Netflix users, it will appear as a message via Facebook Messenger.

Netflix Facebook recommendations feature

The crux of the recommendations feature is that it takes place via Facebook, but privately. Netflix viewers frequently bemoaned the service’s over-sharing Facebook integration in the past, when their entire viewing history would be broadcast to their news feed, so the company has put the focus on privacy with its new sharing feature.

The benefit for Netflix, of course, is that more people will be encouraged to stream content from its service and keep up their subscription payments for the privilege.

The benefit for users is that they no longer have to rely solely on Netflix’s recommendations engine and can receive suggestions from friends who know their tastes better than an algorithm ever could.

For now, the feature is available on the desktop website, iPad, iPhone, PlayStation 3, Xbox and many set-top boxes and smart TVs, and over the coming months it will be added to more platforms.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.