Plex’s new “Discover Together” feature has caused concern among users who don’t want their friends and family to see some of the less savoury content they are viewing.
404media reports that the media server app’s feature has riled up several users on Reddit, the Plex Forums, and the comment section of the blog post announcing the feature.
Many complained that their watch history was being served up to friends and family without permission.
Others said their friends’ watch histories — including adult content — was now being recommended to them.
Introduced at the start of November 2023, the Discover Together feature is a collection of updated experiences that intend to make it easy for Plex users to see what their friends are up to and share their watch history.
The “Activity” section of the feature shows what friends have watched, rated, and added to their Watchlist.
Some of the activity in the segment is also shared in a “week in review” email newsletter that Plex users first started receiving last week.
Users can stop getting content recommendations based on specific users’ watch histories using a “Mute” feature.
Plex also said users who wanted to share content on their personal media server would first have to enable watch state syncing. This does not include content outside the personal library.
The comment section for the blog post announcing the feature was filled with upset users, most of whom took issue with the feature being enabled by default.
“Discover Together and Week in Review emails are a massive breach of privacy and trust,” one user commented.
“Stop enabling features by default. Especially ones that have to do with sharing any information,” another said. “This was a horrible decision and automatically makes me not want to try the feature.”
“Was there even a single person anywhere that asked for Plex to be a social network?” a third asked. “This is pretty ridiculous. I have to go hunt down every setting to turn this garbage off now.”
On the Plex Forums, one user said they could see one of their friends was watching content that “I am 100% sure they would be mortified to know that I know this.”
Users also reported receiving emails about friends’ watch history.
“I just got an email about a friend’s watching habits, which he definitely didn’t want to share,” one said.
“He insists he’s never opted into any data sharing, but…it went out anyway.”
Plex claims it onboarded everyone
A moderator on the forum said adult titles would only be shared if they matched media on online databases like IMDb.
However, they acknowledged that many such titles were listed on IMDb.
A Plex spokesperson told 404media that the company rolled out a full-screen onboarding process for every user, as well as an email announcement and in-app announcement for the launch of Discover Together.
“Based on the comments in the forums and Reddit, users who were ‘unaware’ that their watch activity was being shared to friends and family may have clicked through these settings during the onboarding process without reading their selections,” they said.
The spokesperson also said although Plex does not generate community activity for known adult titles, softer content might not be tagged as adult, which is why such titles might surface in watch activity.