Netflix tests private viewing mode to hide your B-movie binges

by tech on July 18, 2014

We’ve all been down that road: You decide to watch some roadhouse B-movie fare on Netflix, hoping that it will be fun on some level, but it ends up just being a very bad choice — one that you and everyone sharing your account are reminded of the next day, and that your friends may even see as well, if you have chosen to share your viewing with Facebook.

Netflix may be able to help you with those B-movie binges soon: The company is starting to test a private viewing mode. The company’s new Director of Corporate Communications and Technology Cliff Edwards described the tested feature this way in an email:

“At Netflix we continuously test new things. In this case, we are testing a feature in which a user watching a movie or TV show can choose to view in “Privacy Mode.” Choosing that option means the program will not appear in your viewing activity log, nor will it be used to determine recommendations about what you should watch in the future.”

Disregarding titles viewed in privacy mode from future recommendations should also help to influence the quality of those recommendations, especially if you hand over your remote to visitors or house sitters that don’t necessarily have their own Netflix profile associated with your account.

The feature is being tested across all of Netflix’s markets, and tests could go on for a few months, but not every user will have access to it. Edwards also said that a general roll-out will very much depend on how the feature performs in these tests. “We may not ever offer it generally,” he cautioned.

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