Sometimes Netflix’s recommendation algorithm absolutely nails it.
Then, in other cases, it feels like almost every piece of content the streaming platform recommends you watch is either a horrible Will Farrell movie or one of Adam Sandler’s epic Netflix disasters (have you seen Sandy Wexler? It’s almost so bad it’s good).
Maybe you once shared a Netflix account with your significant other, but that relationship is now over and you’d rather not get constant recommendations to watch their favourite show repeatedly — which, of course, is Orange is the New Black, or maybe the recently released Lost in Space remake.
While much of how Netflix’s recommendation algorithm works is shrouded in mystery, we do know a little bit about how it works thanks to a recent Medium post written by the team behind the system.
Let’s get into it: to come up with its viewing suggestions, Netflix’s algorithm analyzes the films and TV shows you’ve watched in the past in an effort to find content it thinks you’d like to watch next.
The streaming platform once featured two specific sections called ‘Because You Watched’ and ‘Recommended For You,’ but that system was replaced in early 2018 with smaller recommendation lists based on specific content you’ve recently launched. The new system apparently even selects user-specific thumbnails based on content you’ve clicked on in the past.
There’s also a ‘Top Picks’ section that seems to operate very similarly to ‘Recommended for you.’ That said, both of these Netflix recommendation sections are at least in part based on the content you’ve watched previously.
Here’s how to fix it
The simple solution to this problem is to head over to your Netflix profile on desktop, log into your account, then navigate to the ‘Your Account’ section from the top right dropdown menu.
Navigate to the bottom of the page to ‘My Profile,’ then ‘Viewing Activity.’ You’ll then be able to view a large list of all that likely embarrassing content you’ve watched on Netflix since you created your account, with a date of when that content was viewed on the left hand side (for example, the first thing I watched on Netflix back in 2010 was apparently Anastasia).
If there’s content you don’t want in your history because that’s the data that powers the ‘My Picks’ section, simply click the ‘X’ on the right hand side. This removes the content from your previously watched list.
It apparently takes 24 hours for Netflix to remove shows and films you don’t want included in this list. This means it will take a bit of time until the algorithm begins recommending content that makes sense for you.
Further, you can also even remove ratings and recommendations, which should also help solve any issues you might be having with the platform’s ‘Recommended for You’ section.
Once you’ve cleared your account history of all the content you don’t want included in Netflix’s recommendation algorithm and waited about 24 hours, the streaming service should begin offering ideas for what to watch next that make a little more sense — at least until you go on another Grey’s Anatomy binge.