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The Fascinating Science of Netflix Recommendations

In a fascinating interview with Wired, two of Netflix’s algorithm experts explain the science behind how they recommend and display movies in your profile. According to the Netflix gurus, “75 percent of viewer activity is driven by recommendations,” they use a team of “more than 40” freelance TV and movie experts who hand-tag every piece of programming available, and they know everything you do within Netflix. “We know what you played, searched for, or rated, as well as the time, date, and device. We even track user interactions such as browsing or scrolling behavior. All that data is fed into several algorithms, each optimized for a different purpose.” Also they know your lying about your sophisticated taste in art-house cinema. “A lot of people tell us they often watch foreign movies or documentaries. But in practice, that doesn’t happen very much” …

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