Netflix Accused of Targeting Black Users With Misleading Posters

Angelo Anderson
October 22, 2018

A representative for Netflix contacted NewsOne and asked that its complete statement be included in this news article.

Netflix began personalizing artwork based on viewing habits previous year, but many users took issue with the idea of targeting subscribers by race. "Because if something is black, I take no offence in being catered to".

The issue was raised on Twitter by writer and podcast host Stacia L. Brown who suggested Netflix is putting pictures of black actors as certain movies lead image, even if said actors only play a minor role in the title.

This was also apparent in the British film favourite Love Actually, which stars white actors Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Colin Firth. It's the dark side of marketing...

"But I DO feel to unnecessarily targeted to watch what their algorithm thinks I should be watching".

And @jeffwetherell complained: "It's not marketing". And whilst Love Actually has many strengths as a movie, racial representation is not one of them.

"It doesn't help their bottom line".


"We don't ask members for their race, gender or ethnicity so we can not use this information to personalize their individual Netflix experience", it said in a statement. "The only information we use is a member's viewing history", it said.

"Reports that we look at demographics when personalizing artwork are untrue". In terms of thumbnails, these do differ and regularly change.

"We are always trying to learn from our members and looking for ways to improve how we personalise the service over time".

Netflix has, in the past, been upfront about its use of personalized artwork.

Using the promotional shot of two black actors for Like Father - which is made up of a mostly white cast with Kristen Bell as the lead - she added: "It's weird to try to pass a film off as having a black principal cast. when it's a white movie". Netflix data, according to the blogpost, shows that 82% of a users decision on whether to watch a movie or TV show is based on the artwork attached to the title. It may seem like a pretty logical step for Netflix to target those interested in watching films with, say, black actors in them, with films that also contain black actors.

But if you regularly tune into comedies, you might be more likely to watch the same movie if the artwork contains the late comedian Robin Williams.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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