Netflix UK launch marred by Facebook backlash

Potential users angered over social network link-up

Stewart Mitchell
9 Jan 2012

Streaming film company Netflix has finally launched in the UK, but the service has already come in for heavy criticism from potential customers for its sign-up process.

The service went live today - although many users have reported via Twitter that the service was unavailable this morning - offering unlimited access to its catalogue of films and TV programmes for £5.99 a month.

Despite promises of a one-month free trial, a tie-in with Facebook has left users unhappy, and worried that their viewing habits will be posted via the social network.

Users with an open Facebook account on their computer have complained that, by default, Netflix wanted to share what people are watching.

Netflix free trial with Facebook, automatically shares 'everything you have watched, and other Netflix activity'

“'See what Facebook friends are watching and Netflix will share what you watch and more',” posted author and web designer Andy Clarke via Twitter. "I don’t think so!"

The sentiment was echoed by many users amid confusion over whether using Facebook as a sign-up tool was a requirement in order to receive the month's free trial.

"Netflix free trial with Facebook automatically shares 'everything you have watched, and other Netflix activity' unless you unshare," reported Daithí Mac Síthigh, a lecturer at the University of East Anglia Law School.

Other Twitter users claimed that signing up for the service while logged out of Facebook and using private browsing settings enabled registration without linking to a Facebook account.

Netflix has since clarified that Facebook is not required, but still faced criticism for not making the email sign-up options clearer.

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