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Netflix's 'creepy' tweet reminds us all how closely it's watching us

13 December 2017, 06:12 | Gina Pena

Elise Amendola | AP | BDN Elise Amendola | AP | BDN Netflix on a tablet

Elise Amendola | AP | BDN
  Elise Amendola | AP | BDN  Netflix on a tablet

On Sunday evening, Netflix tweeted: "To the 53 people who've watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?"

Although the tweet was clearly intended as a joke, it still created some controversy.

The Netflix US Twitter account sent out a anxious tweet on Sunday asking "A Christmas Prince" fans "Who hurt you?"

In business terms, this has always been viewed as a positive, that Netflix has been able to corral all this user data into a magical algorithm that helps them know what we want to watch before we do.

"This is wonderful. Except for the "watching us like big brother" part", one Twitter user wrote in reply.

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I've seen some worry and analysis about the fact that Netflix apparently retains detailed data on our individual viewing habits, but what, exactly, did we expect?

But apparently 53 people liked the cheesy, so-bad-it's-good movie enough to watch it every day for more than two weeks.

The playful Netflix Twitter elf even tweeted back some sass at some of its responders. Whatever be its response, one thing it must do is accurately informing users about its data collection practices, how it stores such data, and who gets to access such data so that its millions of users don't feel violated when it posts similar tweets in the future.

Marketing messages like this don't violate companies' privacy policies, said Bradley Shear, a lawyer specializing in privacy and social media. "These people have been inspired, and they're watching it as a how-to-marry-a-royal".

This is nakedly dystopic messaging from a secretive internet video company that collects reams of data from 109 million subscribers - and rarely gives us a peek behind its curtain.



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