Netflix users will no longer be able to read customer submitted reviews of the streaming service’s shows after it axed the feature.
It’s the end of another era for Netflix with the streaming company having, as of Friday, removed all customer-submitted reviews of TV shows, movies and other programming from the website.
Netflix began notifying customers of the move last month and it stopped allowing users to post new reviews as of July 30 with the company saying it would purge all existing reviews by mid-August — more than a decades’ worth of user-contributed material.
Why did Netflix decide to do away with the feature?
Its official position is that there has been a steady drop in usage of user reviews.
“Netflix customers were able to leave reviews on Netflix.com until mid-2018, when reviews were removed due to declining use,” the company’s help site now says for entry, “How do I post reviews on Netflix?”
But certainly many people found value in reading other Netflix members’ opinions, and sharing their thoughts, too. Popular original series “Stranger Things,” for example, had racked up some 4,000 reviews on Netflix’s site before it zapped the feature.
The real reason Netflix junked user-submitted reviews probably was based on one question: Did they spur people to watch more content? On average, it’s doubtful. And strongly negative reviews, especially of Netflix’s own original programming, may have helped drive down users’ overall perception of the quality of the service.
It also may be the case that some Netflix users tried to sabotage titles they didn’t like with a coordinated barrage of acrimony (although this phenomenon isn’t exactly new on the internet). Recall that an entire conspiracy theory transpired that Netflix killed the five-star content rating system in favour of the binary thumbs-up/thumbs-down after Amy Schumer’s comedy special was hit with a rash of one-star ratings, allegedly by right-wing haters.
Netflix told Variety that user reviews did not have any effect on how its content-recommendations algorithms suggested titles to its broader customer base.