Netflix under fire for mocking users on Twitter with data from annual report

Ben Arnold

In trying to pursue laughs via its Twitter account, Netflix may have wandered into some unwanted controversy over tweets highlighting user data.

Yesterday, the streaming service issued press releases with figures of usage for 2017, but most outlets picked up on some of the more unusual behaviour which was highlighted.

One example being the single household in the UK which watched Bee Movie 357 times.

Netflix itself then went a step further, tweeting the following:

Perhaps it felt that a bit of festive self mockery might be in order, considering that the movie in question, A Christmas Prince, which is one of its own original productions, was roundly panned.

It followed the saccharine story of a New York reporter who travels to a fictional European country, uncovers a royal scandal and marries a prince.

Rather than ‘a delightful holiday romance’, as it was dubbed by producers, fans took to social media to discuss at length how it was so bad that it might actually be good.

Entertainment Weekly also skewered it mercilessly in a lengthy article.

But while some found Netflix’s self-awareness amusing, others, including a few heavyweight media and tech commentators from the New York Times and the Freedom of the Press Foundation, took a more concerned stance about the corporation mining its data for laughs.

It did usher in this amusing exchange, however…

It appears that other territories as well as the UK had specific usage pointed out – according to reports, the Canadian arm of the streaming service pointed out that one user had watched Lord of the Rings: Return of the King 361 times in 2017.

Netflix is yet to respond on the appropriateness of using user information – whether anonymous or not – for PR laughs.

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