Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Netflix to get 'social features' next year

The video streaming and rental company will move fast to allow users to share their viewing habits after getting government clearance last week.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile, 5G, Big Tech, Social Media Credentials
  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng

Netflix will get "social features" that will allow users to share their viewed movies online, according to a report by Talking Points Memo.

Netflix has long wanted users to link their video accounts with Facebook and other social networks, but has been prevented from doing so because of the Video Privacy Protection Act, which bars company from disclosing information such as video rentals. An amendment to that law passed on Friday allows digital, as opposed to written, permission from users and thus makes it easier for Netflix to move forward with its social plans.

CNET contacted Netflix for confirmation, and we'll update the story when the company responds.

It's not a huge surprise that Netflix would move quickly into this area; the company backed the amendment and applauded its passing on Friday.

The amendment almost took on larger significance when Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) attempted to add a provision that would have required the feds to first obtain a warrant or show probable cause before peeking into Americans' e-mail. That provision, however, disappeared from the amendment before it was passed, according to Wired.

Leahy's addition was apparently a last-minute attempt to change the shape of privacy law in the U.S. It will likely return in some form next year.

Netflix, meanwhile, just finished dealing with some drama of its own, having worked through a service outage that hit some customers on Christmas Eve.