Netflix has been criticized for a tweet suggesting 53 people have watched The Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days. Some people seem surprised Netflix knows what its users watch, and others are taking the streaming service to task for what they’re calling “public shaming”.
In actual fact, this is a non-story. Everyone who uses Netflix is well aware it knows exactly what you have watched. And as for the “public shaming” it’s not as though Netflix has named the individual users who have, for reasons only they know, decided to watch the same film on repeat.
Netflix Tweets a Joke
Netflix recently published a press released titled “2017 on Netflix – A Year in Bingeing“. This revealed that Netflix users “watched more than 140 million hours per day” in 2017, and that someone watched Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl “365 days in a row”.
No one really paid much attention to this press release, and certainly didn’t see anything wrong with it. That was until Netflix also tweeted: “To the 53 people who’ve watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?” Which we believe was an attempt at humor.
To the 53 people who've watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?
— Netflix US (@netflix) December 11, 2017
And then people got angry, and started replying to the tweet suggesting Netflix was somehow intruding on people’s privacy by revealing this fact. TechCrunch even wrote an article about it, suggesting that Netflix was “creeping” on everyone. All based entirely on a lighthearted tweet.
Netflix Defends Itself
Netflix has since felt the need to defend itself from these attacks, making it clear that “This information represents overall viewing trends, not the personal viewing information of specific, identified individuals.” A statement Netflix had already included at the end of the press release.
Of course Netflix knows what you watch. Otherwise how would it recommend other content to watch based on your viewing habits? And really, does anyone care that Netflix knows you binge-watched Stranger Things over a weekend, or struggled to wrap your head around Black Mirror?
Holy crap! Netflix collects data on who is watching what shows? I always thought the recommendations were controlled by magic.
— Nux (@the_warboy_nux) December 12, 2017
As for the “public shaming,” Netflix hasn’t named and shamed, or pointed and laughed. It has merely revealed a statistic and lightheartedly pondered what is driving those people to watch the same content day after day. Especially when there are other Christmas movies on Netflix.
Netflix Stands Strong
I really hope Netflix doesn’t feel pressured to delete this tweet, or fire the individual responsible for writing it. Which is what some people are openly advocating. Surely calling for someone to lose their job two weeks before Christmas is worse than anything Netflix has tweeted.
Did you see this tweet from Netflix? Or the controversy that followed? How do you feel about it all? Are you surprised to learn Netflix tracks what its users watch? Or did you feel the mocking tone of the tweet was unnecessary? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Jenny Cestnik via Flickr