Plex update raises concerns over potential sharing of porn viewing habits

midian182

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Facepalm: How would you feel about your Plex viewing habits being mailed to friends and family? Probably not too pleased, especially if you're a fan of certain adult films that people don't watch for the plot. But a new feature is allowing users to see what others have viewed, rated, added to their watchlist, or shared – and it's enabled by default.

Streaming media service/media server Plex rolled out a new feature this month called Discover Together. According to the company, it makes it easy to see what friends are up to. Their activity is also shared in a "week in review" email sent to friends and people who have access to their servers.

404 Media reports that, unsurprisingly, the feature has not gone down well with Plex users. "Who in their right mind thought it would be a good idea to store this data in Plex databases and do anything with it?. There is a reason we are selfhosting. And I get emails about what friends are watching on their servers and vice versa? Absolutely dumbfounded here. And that is toning it down," wrote one person.

The Plex forum is filled with similar angry posts about spying and privacy concerns. Another user says the fact this data is being collected and made available by Plex goes against the notion of self-hosting.

There's also the problem of people discovering exactly what content their friends are watching. "I just got an email about a friend's watching habits which he definitely didn't want to share," said one person.

"I can see that one of my friends is apparently watching a ton of cheesy, soft porn stuff (think classic 'skinemax' fare) from some server (it's not mine) or Plex channel, and I am 100 percent sure they would be mortified to know that I know this," wrote another.

In addition to revealing people's potential porn addictions, many are worried about the feature exposing a practice employed by many Plex users: streaming illegally pirated movies and TV shows for others to watch. "It's dangerous. Certain entities would LOVE to have that data…which could mean jail time for some," one user wrote.

Plex says people can opt out of the data sharing – it's enabled by default – and that "sync events" used to track viewing history do not reveal the nature of the file played.

A forum moderator said porn viewing habits are only shared if a match can be made with content in online databases like IMDb. While a lot of porn titles aren't listed on the Amazon-owned site, it still contains plenty of filth.

A Plex spokesperson said the company did roll out a full-screen onboarding process for every user along with an email announcement and in-app announcement for the launch of Discover Together. They suggested that some people may have clicked through these settings without reading their selections. The spokesperson added that Plex does not generate community activity reports for recognized adult titles. However, some content may not be tagged as adult, resulting in its appearance in watch activity logs.

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If I didn't have a lifetime subscription bought and paid for, I would've cancelled and started looking elsewhere.

Man, even pressure from bigger tech personalities like Linus haven't fixed the stupid that's going on at Plex, and it is annoying a lot of their customer base (considering some mobile app features have been broken for years)...
 
Actually, no.

Google chrome already builds a profile of you. Just open your history for a fact. Just know that everything you visit, even if the website was not even made public, it will be indexed by it.
Even with Apple. Wife notices it even on her iPhone and iPad. Adds are all related to things she looks at in apps.
 
I setup family members to have access to my server years ago, before "friends" was even an option. Plex let everything default to being active when they should have left it be set to disabled. Assclowns.
 
Shame it won't work to perfection and uncover all the ranting hypocrites - screaming how bad porn is - You know a number of them probably watching the kind of porn - that they don't want people to know about

Anyone ranting publicly about protecting the kids - don't let them anywhere near your children*
And those that rant gays should burn in hell - sure a good % watch hardcore gay porn - Because the average Joe - doesn't care what consenting adult gay people do


*I'm not talking about normal concerned or worried parents -
 
Blaming the users for not reading - Fair.
Maybe if this is only turned on for new users and it is a sufficiently surfaced part of the setup process. A lot less fair IMO if they retroactively turned it on for established Plex users who may have last made any configuration change many years in the past. I use Plex regularly, but I do not spend my time researching patch notes and scanning the settings every week to see if they added something new. I certainly don't expect an update to automatically start sharing my viewing habits.

The bottom line big picture for me is that the current team has morphed into some new mission that is very different from what I initially chose Plex for, and it's time for me to find something else. I won't miss it, I've already been annoyed for years that my local media player feels I need to log in every time I want to use it to stream from my local media server.
 
Granted, I'm not a Plex user so I would have no way of knowing, but I didn't realize Plex was for pr0n stashes.
 
I'm a plex user and wasn't aware of this which is actually quite worrying. I don't have any "plex friends" and my movie tastes are fairly mainstream but I still don't like the idea of my viewing habits being public (I'd rather that people don't know that I occasionally watch the odd romantic comedy). How can I check that this "feature" is turned off?

If Jellyfin is free then I'm not quite sure why I'm paying plex each month to distribute data about me. I'll have to see if it works on a QNAP NAS.
 
Granted, I'm not a Plex user so I would have no way of knowing, but I didn't realize Plex was for pr0n stashes.
I don't think that is a common use case for it, but I'd still rather not have say my work colleague emailed that "I" spent all workday watching a cake baking series (where that's really someone else in my household not bothering switching profiles.)
 
If I didn't have a lifetime subscription bought and paid for, I would've cancelled and started looking elsewhere.

Man, even pressure from bigger tech personalities like Linus haven't fixed the stupid that's going on at Plex, and it is annoying a lot of their customer base (considering some mobile app features have been broken for years)...

Linus is a running joke in the tech world - so why would anyone care what he has to say? Plex aint stupid. An association to LTT would be a bad thing and they know that. I doubt they would want to be seen heeding their advice.
 
Linus is a running joke in the tech world - so why would anyone care what he has to say? Plex aint stupid. An association to LTT would be a bad thing and they know that. I doubt they would want to be seen heeding their advice.
The only joke here is your waste of a reply. Thanks for wasting my time with your bandwagon opinion lol
 
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