Starting today, Netflix Instant users in the U.S. will finally be able to share what they’re watching with their Facebook friends. The social sharing, made possible by the passage of the amended VPPA in January, is now in rollout mode.
Netflix will start rolling out the new social features today, and they say that all 27 million U.S. users will have access to the Facebook sharing by the end of this week.
The Netflix/Facebook partnership, which has already been available in other countries for some time, will allow U.S. users to opt in. Those that do will see “Friends Favorites” and “Watched by Your Friends” sections on their Netflix accounts. Netflix streamers will be able to posts about movies and TV that they’re watching and comment on it as well.
“You 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,” says Netflix
The new social layer was made possible by an update to the Video Privacy Protection Act, a 1988 law that barred the sharing of any video rental history without the viewer’s expressed consent. The law, which originally focused on VHS rentals, disallowed companies like Netflix from giving users the option to share their viewing history on social sites like Facebook.
Netflix lobbied Congress to update the law, and it finally payed off when both the House and the Senate passed the amended VPPA a few days before Christmas last year. President Obama signed it into law in early January.
And it looks like it’s only taken Netflix a couple of months to begin the rollout of these new social features.
The amended VPPA makes sure that the “rental company” (Netflix) gives users a “clear and conspicuous” option to not share their streaming history, and that the viewers permission to share their video history expires after 2 years unless they renew it.