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Netflix denies changing episode order based on users’ sexual orientation

Netflix denies changing episode order based on users’ sexual orientation

Samira Wiley in the new Netflix series Love, Death & Robots

Netflix has denied observations by users that they’re changing the episode orders of a new series basued on viewers’ sexual orientation.

The streaming giant recommends things for their users to watch based on their viewing history. This is the first time, however, they’re randomizing the episode order of an original series.

Love, Death & Robots is a new animated anthology series on the platform. Created by Tim Miller, the series tells a variety of sci-fi stories based on Miller and David Fincher’s reboot of the Candian sci-fi fantasy flick Heavy metal.

Lukas Thoms of Out in Tech noticed the episode order change and tweeted about it.

‘Just discovered the most INSANE thing,’ he wrote. ‘The ORDER OF THE EPISODES for Netflix’s new series Love Death & Robots changes based on whether Netflix thinks you’re gay or straight.’

Lukas Thoms' tweets about Netflix
Thoms’ tweets about Netflix | Photo: Twitter @LukasThoms

He then posted side-by-side photos of his account’s episode order for Love, Death & Robots and a straight friend’s account.

Thoms explained the series started with a lesbian episode for him, and an episode with heterosexual sex for his friend. He also noted two of his other gay friends had the same order as himself.

In the thread, Thoms further explained his reasoning that he didn’t think sexual orientation was the only variable and also that he presumed it was an algorithm.

What’s really going on

In a reply to Thoms, Netflix clairifed and said the changing episode order has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

‘We’ve never had a show like Love, Death & Robots before so we’re trying something completely new: presenting four different episode orders,’ the company said.

They also stated they don’t have information on their users’ ‘gender, ethnicity, or sexual identity’.

In Thoms’ continued thread, he independently verified this as well. He asked a friend who works at the company to look into the matter.

Thoms’ friend reportedly told him the episode order was a ‘100% random A/B test’.

Lukas Thoms' tweets about Netflix
Thoms’ continued tweets about Netflix | Photo: Twitter @LukasThoms

Concluding this thread, Thoms, however, also acknowledged the information could be used in the future.

‘I hear Netflix thinks and cares a lot about ethical algorithms, but every company needs to be more transparent here,’ he wrote.

Love, Death & Robots is currently streaming and stars Samira Wiley, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Topher Grace, and more.

See also

Netflix cancels hit-show One Day At A Time, LGBTI fans react angrily

Before One Day At A Time: 8 queer shows canceled by Netflix

Award-winning gay Indian feature film screening on Netflix