Netflix, Facebook hook up in U.S. at last

The video distribution maven says that its U.S. members now can connect to Facebook and agree to share favorite TV shows and movies on Netflix.

Netflix Facebook US integration
Here's how the Facebook integration looks on your Netflix screen. Netflix

It was a long time coming: Netflix users in the U.S. can now reveal their viewing habits and tastes to their Facebook friends.

Netflix announced today that its U.S. members will be able to connect to Facebook and agree to share favorite TV shows and movies on Netflix. The company will be turning on the feature "over the coming days" and expects that all U.S. members will have access to the social feature by the end of the week.

"By default, sharing will only happen on Netflix," Cameron Johnson, director of product innovation at Netflix, wrote in a blog post. "You'll see what titles your friends have watched in a new 'Watched by your friends' row and what they have rated four or five stars in a new 'Friends' Favorites' row. Your friends will also be able to see what you watch."

Worried that your friends will now know you've got a thing for the lesser works of Sylvester Stallone or the outre offspring of the racy Russ Meyer? Netflix wants to reassure you that that doesn't have to happen.

Johnson emphasized that its members are in control of what gets shared. "You can choose not to share a specific title by clicking the 'Don't Share This' button in the player. You can also visit your 'Social Settings' in 'Your Account' on Netflix.com to turn on additional sharing to Facebook or stop sharing altogether."

Nothing, Netflix says, will be automatically posted to Facebook.

Integration between Netflix and Facebook has been a reality in many countries around the world for some time now. It had been unattainable in the U.S. until now because of a 1988 federal law, the Video Privacy Protection Act, which arose after news reports disclosed the video rental records of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

The Facebook integration in the U.S. became possible when Congress amended the video-sharing law at the start of the year.

Netflix explains the Facebook integration in this video:

About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.

 

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