Netflix Denies Using Race to Target Viewers

Netflix denies social media allegations that they target viewers based on their race, adding they don't even have that info on their subscribers.

Netflix app is seen on an android mobile phone.

KRAKOW, POLAND - 2018/09/04: Netflix app is seen on an android mobile phone. (Photo by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Netflix app is seen on an android mobile phone.

On Monday, Netflix stated that they do not use skin color as a determinant for how to market the same movie to people of different ethnicities. This particular and specific denial came after social media allegations arose stating marketing materials sent to black Netflix subscribers featured images of black actors (even if they were just in minor roles) while white subscribers got images of white actors.

The company denied such filtering existed by stating that they don't even have that info about their users.

"Reports that we look at demographics when personalizing artwork are untrue," said a Netflix spokesperson in an email to The Hollywood Reporter. "We don't ask members for their race, gender or ethnicity so we cannot use this information to personalize their individual Netflix experience. The only information we use is a member's viewing history. In terms of thumbnails, these do differ and regularly change. This is to ensure that the images we show people are useful in deciding which shows to watch."

The Hollywood Reporter notes/suggests that the difference could be attributed to a feature Netflix revealed via their blog in 2017. Using Good Will Hunting as their hypothetical movie, the streaming company stated that the technology would have "personalized artwork" tailored to their viewers' previous tastes. That means that if you had watched several romantic comedies the art would show Matt Damon and Minnie Driver, while if you were somebody who loaded up on comedies  then the artwork would show Robin Williams.

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