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U.S. Netflix users soon will be able to share their viewing habits with friends and followers on their Facebook Timelines.
According to TPM, Netflix will be introducing “social features” to users in the U.S. next year, features that already have been used by Canadian and Latin American users since 2011.
The holdup for U.S. users has been a provision that restricted companies from sharing “personally identifiable information” like video rental histories. A bill recently passed by Congress, the poorly titled Video Privacy Protection Act Amendments Act of 2012, would remove such restrictions and allow Netflix users to share their viewing history on Facebook.
The bill is on President Obama’s desk, waiting to be signed into law.
“We are pleased that the Senate moved so quickly after the House,” a Netflix spokesperson told TPM in a statement. “We plan to introduce social features for our U.S. members in 2013, after the president signs it.”
The “social features” would include linking users’ Netflix accounts with their Facebook accounts through a Netflix Facebook app so users can share their watched films within their social network.
Ideally, it could be an effective promotional tool for the on-demand Internet streaming service, giving users the ability to share not only the films and television shows they are watching but also to promote the company within their social network.
According to TPM, Netflix competitor Hulu has been offering Facebook integration since 2011 but has been fighting a court battle under the old Video Privacy Protection Act, which this new bill aims to update and rectify.
One bit of controversy surrounding the version of the bill on the president’s desk is that the law does not contain an e-mail privacy add-on. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., previously attempted to attach the VPPA amendment to a larger bill that would have forced law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant before accessing user e-mail accounts in all cases. Currently, the law does not require law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant to access user e-mails older than six months, according to TPM.
The move comes at a perfect time for Netflix, as two highly anticipated series make their debut exclusively on the entertainment provider’s network: the Kevin Spacey political drama series House of Cards (Feb. 1) and the new season of Arrested Development (scheduled for the spring).
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