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Netflix had planned to launch a deep integration with Facebook, but the company said on Tuesday that it won’t be able to launch the feature in the U.S. anytime soon. The reason: A video rental privacy law is too ambiguous about opt-ins for information sharing.


U.S.-based Netflix subscribers won’t be able to share their viewing habits with their Facebook friends anytime soon, the company reported on Tuesday. In its Q2 letter to shareholders (PDF), the video subscription service revealed that it will only launch the feature, which has been reportedly in the works for some time, in Canada and South America this year because of concerns over a U.S. privacy law.

The Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) makes it impossible for a company to disclose personally identifiable video rental information to third parties unless the customer opts into such data transfer in writing. The law was passed in 1998 after a video rental store provided a Washington-based newspaper with information about the videos a local judge was renting.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells said in their letter to shareholders today that under the law “it is ambiguous when and how a user can give permission for his or her video viewing data to be shared.” The continued saying that lawmakers have introduced a bill (HR2471) to clarify when and how a user can opt into these kinds of things, adding: “We’re hoping HR2471 passes, enabling us to offer our Facebook integration to our U.S. subscribers who desire it.”

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  1. huh? then don’t tell users of Blippy.com because all sorts of user data from purchases, including Netflix queue rentals flows through the site… and is shared by members…

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