Netflix removes controversial new feature
Netflix has repealed its newest feature after numerous complaints from users. The online streaming site’s effort to keep its watchers from binge watching hours on end has been labeled pushy and annoying by people devoted to their TV time.
After five hours of nonstop streaming, the site displays a message asking “[Your name here], are you still watching?” The user must then press “continue,” requiring them to actually pick up the remote, maybe even stand up to walk to where they left it, and select the right option to continue to the next episode. This feature has been in place for about a year now, but the newest addition is the seven prompts following the first one.
The messages become increasingly aggressive as you continue to watch, beginning with the tame “Are you still watching?” and ending with the scathing “You’re probably a disappointment to your family. Are you sure you don’t want to get up and get some exercise?”
“I just feel like I don’t need an online site judging my behaviors. I get that enough in my everyday life from real people,” said self-described Doctor Who fanatic Emily Tardis. Tardis is not alone in feeling offended by the site’s pressure to get active; over 1,000,000 people signed an online petition to remove the prompts. The petition demanded the immediate removal of the new messages as well as the release of whatever advisor decided to implement the feature.
“This is absolutely ridiculous. It makes no sense to me why an online streaming site would try to stop its paying customers from using it. If I want to stop watching a show, I’ll stop watching it – otherwise, I won’t,” said Rick Lost, who hosted a peaceful protest in Boston attended by over 3,000 people. Lost also claimed to have signed the petition with all three of his email accounts, as well as his 10 year old daughter’s account. “I’m very passionate about this cause. It affects a lot of people, and not just those in the US. Netflix is international now, so this is really a worldwide humanitarian crisis,” said Lost.
“In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in a public statement to the angry public. He claims that the consecutive messages were an attempt to keep people active and healthy, but he acknowledges that the company may have gone somewhat far and that it was never his intention to shame users or discourage them from watching their favorite shows.
The site sent an apologetic email to all registered users in an attempt to patch up bruised feelings, and removed all of the prompts and major advisors as per the petition’s request. “We want everyone to be able to stream as much as they want without feeling shame, and believe that individuals have the ability to recognize their own personal limits. We always want to put you guys first,” the email stated.