Netflix is manipulating things.
A detailed report from The Verge (via Variety) reveals how Netflix allegedly took deliberate measures to change its algorithm in order to suppress the PR crisis around the controversial French coming-of-age movie “Cuties.” The film, acclaimed out of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, became a national talking point after Netflix released a poster for it depicting its young child characters striking suggestive poses. Netflix apologized for the image, but by that point the film had become the target of nationwide criticisms that Netflix was sexualizing underage children. An online petition encouraging Netflix users to cancel their subscriptions because of “Cuties” garnered over 650,000 signatures.
As reported by The Verge: “Behind the scenes, Netflix scrambled to minimize public backlash by suppressing the film in search results prior to its release. It removed ‘Cuties’ from the ‘coming soon’ and ‘popular searches’ categories and excluded it from queries for ‘cute.’ It then adjusted its algorithm so searches for the film would not surface ‘steamy / sexual titles’ or kids’ movies.”