Netflix to offer Facebook integration (outside U.S.)

Integration between Facebook and Netflix is set to launch in the third quarter, but U.S. users won't be able to tap into it.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Those who are both Facebook members and Netflix subscribers will soon be able to tie their two identities together in certain ways, but only if they live in Canada or Latin America.

In announcing its second-quarter earnings yesterday (PDF), Netflix touched on the topic of its integration with the popular social network.

The video service explained that it has made progress with Facebook integration and is looking to launch an in-network feature sometime in the third quarter. But users in the United States will apparently be out of luck.

"At this point, we plan to launch this initiative only in Canada and Latin America, as the VPPA (Video Privacy Protection Act) discourages us from launching our Facebook integration domestically," Netflix said in its earnings report. "Under the VPPA, it is ambiguous when and how a user can give permission for his or her video-viewing data to be shared."

Launched in 1988, the VPAA limits the ability of people to share information about their video-viewing habits. The law was passed in response to a newspaper that published the video rental records of then-Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

To update the law, however, some in Congress are trying to pass through a clarification, known as HR 2471, that would let people give their consent to share their video-viewing record via the Internet.

"We're hoping HR 2471 passes, enabling us to offer our Facebook integration to our U.S. subscribers who desire it," Netflix noted.

Details are sparse on exactly what the integration between Netflix and Facebook would offer. Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey told CNET that the feature would connect Netflix and Facebook but said that the company hasn't actually announced the integration, so no specifics are available just yet.