Netflix is getting really good at guessing what you might like to watch. That’s partially because they’ve improved the algorithms that the site uses to map your taste, and partially because we’ve all been cozying up to our laptops for about fifteen years now so they’ve got a decade and a half of personal data to work with. Still, the service has acknowledged that it is possible that your friends know something about you that Netflix doesn’t. That’s why the company has teamed up with Facebook to offer a new recommendation tool.
The new feature will allow you to send recommendations to a friend or group of friends privately rather than announcing it on your newsfeed. If your friend has already connected their Facebook profile to their Netflix account, they will receive the message through their Netflix facebook app. Users who haven’t linked their profiles will receive a direct message through Facebook messenger. Netflix no doubt hopes that the new tool will inspire more views and subscriptions, but it’s also a stealth data gathering tool. Netflix will retain information about what you recommend and, if your Facebook profile and Netflix account are linked, what gets recommended to you.
Content is Netflix’s main product, but data is the real heart of their business. Customer data has allowed the streaming platform to build original programming around the profiles of its most active users creating shows that in turn generate buzz and new subscriptions. Netflix also keeps its users hooked through discovery. Users are far less likely to close their accounts if Netflix continues to recommend new shows and movies that appeal to their taste profiles. In short, Netflix business depends on knowing you well enough to show you things that you will like from its vast library. Allowing friends to make private recommendations expands its ability to do that.