Does Netflix keep recommending shows you wouldn’t watch in a million years? HBO’s “Recommended by Humans” might be for you. The streaming platform’s new website pays real people to compile popular shows onto the site, featuring a few cheeky nods to other streaming services like Netflix, which use recommendation algorithms.
Recommended by Humans (RBH) will feature free episodes of some of HBO’s most popular shows like Game of Thrones and Friends in what many are calling a ploy to lure new viewers in before HBO Max launches in spring 2020. Instead of scanning and analyzing your personal viewing history, RBH scans Twitter — it features the most talked-about shows on the internet, regardless of demographic.
Users are noticing that RBH has a sly sense of humor about their AI-free algorithm. The home screen declares, “Real recommendations from real people. We paid them for their time because we’re not monsters.”
HBO knows Netflix has years of data from millions of viewers, but they don’t seem threatened — after all, people are just as likely, if not more likely, to accept a TV show or movie suggestion from a friend.
Sometimes a trendy new show won’t be like anything you’ve watched before, so it’s possible your personal algorithm just won’t catch it. If you want to keep up with the newest show trending on Twitter, like Euphoria, you’re better off paying attention to what other viewers are interested in.
And RBH isn’t just a list of show names — it includes real tweets with a variety of reactions to different shows and movies. You can watch video interviews where other viewers explain what they like and don’t like about a given program, which can help you decide if it’s the show for you.
Will RBH edge Netflix out of the top-streamer spot? Only time will tell. Until then, check out Recommended by Humans if you’re tired of the movies your algorithm “thinks” you want to see.