In a bid to ratchet up video viewing hours, Netflix is now
letting U.S. subscribers share their favorite TV shows and movies with friends
on Facebook, after Congress earlier this year amended a 1980s-era video privacy
In 2011, Netflix
introduced a Facebook feature to let subscribers share which videos they've
recently watched or are currently watching. However, it was available only
outside the U.S., because of the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988, which
prohibits video-rental services from disclosing people's viewing history.
Netflix had actively lobbied to have the law changed to let users opt to share
Beginning Wednesday, Netflix streaming members in the U.S.
can link their accounts with Facebook, which will let them see what other
friends who have Netflix have watched as well as their favorite selections. All
of Netflix's more than 27 million U.S. members will have access to the social
features by the end of this week, the company said.
Netflix's goal: to drive up views -- and the perceived value
of the service -- by surfacing popular titles from a customer's social network.
According to the company, members currently watch more than 1 billion hours of
streaming video per month.