Thanks to new law, Netflix adds Facebook sharing features

ADVERTISEMENT
Congress passed the VPPA in 1988 after the Washington City Paper published a list of videotape rentals by Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork during his contentious nomination process. Although Bork's rental history was mostly innocuous, members of Congress were outraged at the breach of privacy.

Netflix and other companies argued the law was outdated and that users should be able to share their viewing habits with their friends without having to manually approve each video. Facebook users could already choose to automatically reveal which songs they listened to and which articles they read.

At Netflix's urging, Congress passed legislation allowing social media users to opt in to automatically share their video history information. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) added a provision requiring video companies to re-obtain their customers' permission for sharing every two years.

President Obama signed the bill into law on Jan. 10.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Netflix explained that customers will be able to choose whether to link their Netflix and Facebook accounts. By default, the video sharing will only appear on Netflix, but users can choose to also broadcast the video history on Facebook. Users can hide individual videos by clicking the "Don't share this" button. 

The social features will be rolled out to all U.S. users by the end of the week, Netflix said.