Before the Netflix naming and price debacle, you used to be able to share what movies you watched and how you rated them on Facebook. You could also connect with friends, see what was in their queue, and glean their ratings. It was a vastly useful feature that was all but honed, and if it were, it would have improved what you watched. I know from my own personal experience it influenced my TV and movie watching on the all you can eat video service.
A few years ago Netflix pulled the social features, and not because they wanted to. Thanks to the Video Protection Act of 1988, Netflix was barred from legally sharing this information even if the user so opted. While it may not have been a significant blow to the company’s success, it most certainly was one that caused a fair bit of consternation amongst its users. However, the law has now been overturned, largely because Netflix invested over $500,000 of their own money lobbying congress to do so.
So what does this mean to you? To be candid, I’m no lawyer and nor have I read the act in full detail. But what I do know is that Netflix, Facebook, etc will gain the right to share your video rental info and if so needed display it as an advert to friends. Fortunately, you can opt out of the service, but unless you plan on running for office or pursuing any sort of a political career it’s probably a moot issue. In fact, it might enhance your movie watching life, as you’ll regain access the aforementioned info, though I have yet to see the social features (re)emerge on the site.