Netflix Can Now Share Viewing History On Facebook Thanks To Newly Passed Reform Bill

By Kelly West 2012-12-27 21:43:14 discussion comments
Netflix Can Now Share Viewing History On Facebook Thanks To Newly Passed Reform Bill image
Facebook has become the ultimate hub of oversharing in this day and age, and we've seen other apps and websites make use of that, allowing the option to share purchases, likes, project progress and whatever else we think everyone we know might find interesting. But apparently, that didn't include sharing our Netflix viewing history. Thanks to the new reform bill that just passed, it sounds like you'll be able to post the progress you've made on your Breaking Bad catch-up project or - come next year- maybe even brag to everyone when you finally see the new season of Arrested Development.

Arstechnica.com posted the news that the senate passed a reform to the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) which was previously keeping Netflix from connecting with Facebook to allow its users to share their viewing history on the social networking site. Prior to the reform, written consent was required in order to disclose anyone's move-rental history. H.R. 6671 is the reform bill that passed, which will allow Netflix (and other streaming video providers) to post your viewing history on Facebook and presumably other social networking sites and/or apps, with your permission.
It also shows the contours of what a Netflix sharing function, on Facebook or otherwise, might look like. The bill makes clear that: 1) consent for sharing video-watching history can be granted over the Internet; and 2) consent can be given for a whole period of time, up to two years, and doesn't need to be given every time sharing happens. It also specifies that the disclosure has to be in a "distinct" form. In other words, don't put it in the fine print. Consumers will be allowed to withdraw consent for sharing when they want to, on a case-by-case basis, or altogether.

It's a small change, but Ars Technica says Netflix has been trying to make this happen for a couple of years now.

With internet privacy being a constant concern, especially as online applications get more advanced and offer the option to connect with social networking services, where our privacy is especially vulnerable, this is likely to be of interest to anyone who uses Facebook and Netflix or other streaming video services. But from the sound of it, users will have the choice as to whether or not they want to share their viewing history. So anyone concerned that all of their friends will discover their obsession with guilty-pleasure romcoms or Gossip Girl marathoning should be able to rest assured that they'll have the option to keep their viewing habits off of their Facebook feed.
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