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Confirmed: Netflix Revises User Ratings to Include Two Thumbs Up: ‘Love This!’

Ben Bowman

Netflix subscribers have a new way to rate shows and movies. Instead of the thumbs up and thumbs down icons that viewers are used to using to rate the shows and movies that they’ve watched, users are now seeing a third option — two thumbs up.

If you hover over the thumbs-down icon, a dialogue box pops up that says “Not for me.” Hover over one thumb up and that signifies “I like this.” If you hover over two thumbs up, that signifies “Love this!” The extra thumb will help Netflix tailor its algorithmic offerings better.

“Our current Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down buttons are a good way for you to tell us how you feel about a series or film, and in return, you get a profile that’s better personalized to your taste,” Netflix said in a release. “However, we’ve learned over time that these feelings can go beyond a simple like or dislike. Providing an additional way to tell us when you’re really into something means a profile with recommendations that better reflect what you enjoy.

Almost exactly five years ago, Netflix switched up the way subscribers could rate the movies and TV shows on the service. Initially, users could rate Netflix items on a 5-star system. That method was abandoned in favor of the Siskel & Ebert-style thumbs.

At the time of the 2017 switch, the streaming service said: “Netflix has had star ratings for much of our history, but we’ve learned through over a year of testing that while we’ve used stars to help you personalize your suggestions, many of our members are confused about what they do.”

The post continued: “When people see thumbs, they know that they are used to teach the system about their tastes with the goal of finding more great content. That’s why when we tested replacing stars with thumbs we saw an astounding 200% increase in ratings activity.”

Netflix said in its statement, “Consider Two Thumbs Up as a way to fine-tune your recommendations to see even more shows or films influenced by what you love. A Thumbs Up still lets us know what you liked, so we use this response to make similar recommendations. But a Two Thumbs Up tells us what you loved and helps us get even more specific with your recommendations. For example, if you loved Bridgerton, you might see even more shows or films starring the cast, or from Shondaland.”

In addition to the thumbs down, up, and double-up options, Netflix also has plenty of user data to illustrate whether a show or movie is popular. For years, the service recorded a “view” as whenever someone watched at least two minutes of a title. In October 2021, Netflix switched its criteria, now ranking titles based on total number of minutes watched. That gave added weight to people who sat through longer content like Martin Scorsese’s 3-hour-and-29-minute “The Irishman.”

But if Netflix has the data on what we stream and how long, why might it need the extra thumb? It’s possible that all the algorithms still aren’t able to capture the enthusiasm for a title. Just because we watched all of “Clickbait” to discover whodunnit doesn’t mean that we actually enjoyed the ride. To Netflix, those views might weigh just as heavily as someone who watched all of “Squid Game” in one sitting while sweating buckets during the tug-o-war scene.

Perhaps Netflix has also been burned too often by expensive misfires like “Cowboy Bebop” and “Jupiter’s Legacy.” Data likely played a role in the decision to greenlight those experiments, but there was clearly something missing for the audience. Maybe by adding another thumb, Netflix will have an easier time discerning the audience’s true feelings.

Or, much like the “close door” button on an elevator, maybe this is a useless invention designed to provide the illusion of control. Maybe we’ll find out if Netflix ever addresses the change.

Netflix

Netflix is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 3,000+ movies, 2,000+ TV Shows, and Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Mindhunter, Queer Eye, and Russian Doll. They are constantly adding new shows and movies — and have even begun creating original films like The Irishman (Robert De Niro, Al Pacino) and Dolemite is My Name (Eddie Murphy).

Netflix offers three plans — on 1 device in SD with their “Basic” (£6) plan, on 2 devices in HD with their “Standard” (£9) plan, and 4 devices in up to 4K on their “Premium” (£12) plan.

Netflix spends more money on content than any other streaming service meaning that you get more value for the monthly fee.