A Senate update to the Video Privacy Protection Act will allow Netflix to add social functions to its site, letting customers share notice about the movies they’ve watched on Facebook and Twitter. Once President Obama signs the law, it will go in effect next year.
The previous law required a police warrant or approval before sharing video rental history. With the new sharing capability, people will automatically share the movies they’ve watched on social networks.
“Social video sharing under the new bill will come with two stipulations: Netflix and similar companies will be required to give users a ‘clear and conspicuous’ option to stop automatically sharing their views, and customers must be asked once every two years if they would like to continue sharing their views,” says Mashable.
Word-of-mouth sharing is an important factor for the success of a film when it’s released in the theaters. Whether it’s controversy — as in the cases of Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained, as discussed here on The Atlantic Wire — or buzz surrounding a smaller film that otherwise doesn’t have the budget to compete with something as massive as, say, The Hobbit, the act of sharing praise or interest person-to-person makes money.
In this case, Netflix would benefit more than any one film. But the question is whether people will be rushing to add this notice to their social media updates. Movie buffs might be eager to talk about what they’re watching, but do you want to add one more thing to the long list of updates that you’re posting to your social media feeds?