Netflix is bringing to an end the ability for users to write reviews on movies and TV shows. While not publicly announced, the streaming service has provided a statement to CNET confirming the ending of the feature. While also providing some limited information on how reviews will be officially retired.
First off, Netflix is not only removing the ability for users to write reviews, but removing reviews altogether and therefore all of the reviews currently shown on the site will also be removed in due course. As to be expected, the ability to write reviews will be the first to disappear and this is reportedly planned for July 30. A couple of weeks after (mid-August), all the reviews on Netflix will be taken down. While this is a notable change, it might not be one that affects some people as it all comes down to how an individual user accessing Netflix in the first place. For example, reviews are only accessible via the company's website (under "Details" on any title listing) and so those who primarily use an app version of Netflix, will not likely notice any change as user reviews are not displayed in the app. Which is likely part of the reason the feature is being closed, as during the statement a Netflix spokesperson confirmed the usage of the feature has been declining over time.
According to Netflix, user reviews are not actually used to recommend content to others as the company makes use of a more internalized recommendation system where content is recommended based on feedback provided by the user. At present, this is primarily populated by the use of a thumbs up and down system which lets users quickly denote whether or not they liked a specific title. Although even this is a fairly new feature as the use of thumbs was introduced as a replacement to a star system where the user could rate titles based on a 1-5 rating. This is not the only new change the company is understood to be working on, as it was recently reported Netflix is testing a new payment tier option called "Ultra." If this one rolls out to all users, it will effectively arrive as a fourth, more expensive, and an even more premium option than the current "Premium" tier.