There’s a big difference between merely liking a show and it being your all-time favorite. Netflix’s recommendation algorithm will now be able to distinguish between the two. The streaming service is adding a “Two Thumbs Up” option to its rating system. Viewers will notice the new option starting today, right next to the traditional “Thumbs Up and “Thumbs Up” icon across all devices.
How do you know whether a show or movie deserves one or two “Thumbs Up”? If you liked the genre or style of a show and want to see similar titles, a single thumb is a safe bet. For example, giving a single thumbs up to a show like Russian Doll means you'll see more mystery or dramedy shows with a woman as a leading character. Liking a show like Midsomer Murders means Netflix will serve you up even more British detective dramas.
But when you throw out a “Two Thumbs Up”, Netflix’s suggestions will become even more tailored to actors or specific creators. “...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," said Christine Doig-Cardet, Netflix's director of product innovation in a blog post.
Netflix’s thumbs-based rating system has had its fair share of critics in recent years. The platform its five-star rating system in 2017, much to the chagrin of armchair movie critics everywhere. As one Redditor , it's hard to know what to rate a mediocre film from a director you normally love. Viewers worried that giving a “Thumbs Down” to a less-than-stellar show from a favorite genre could throw off Netflix’s algorithm. One example could be zombie fans who don’t like the movie Zombieland, or fans of Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy who didn’t care for Waking Life. Hopefully the new addition to Netflix’s rating system will lead to more well-tailored suggestions. Or at least less bad ones.