Netflix Has Turned Off—And Deleted—User Reviews

The peer-to-peer recommendation has taken another hit.

Netflix has deleted all user reviews from its streaming service, the company confirmed to Vanity Fair on Sunday. The move means users will no longer have the ability to see what friends liked and didn’t and choose films based on those recommendations.

Netflix turned off the ability to post reviews to its service on July 30. In a support page announcing its decision, Netflix said that it’s removed user reviews because of “declining use” among its membership. Netflix added that it still allows users to give movies and TV series a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” It then provides a list of suggested content users would like based on their viewing history and the content they’ve rated highly with a “thumbs up.”

User reviews have long provided Netflix users an opportunity to see what others thought of a movie or series and gain some insight into content before they committed time to watching a program. However, the reviews did little to enhance the broader Netflix viewing experience. And, in a statement to Vanity Fair, a Netflix spokesperson said that it never incorporated good or bad reviews into its suggestion algorithm.

“Recommendations to members are always personalized based on what we think that specific member will enjoy watching based on what they have watched before,” the spokesperson said.

So, nothing will change in the Netflix viewing experience now that user reviews are gone. But the Netflix suggestion algorithm—and its accuracy—might be even more important than ever.