Netflix has had a strange year as more and more streaming companies enter the fray heading into 2020. Now, some users are upset because one docuseries is pretty gruesome and the service’s autoplay doesn’t take that into account when scrolling through titles. Don’t Fuck With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer, (yup, that’s the title folks), is a series featuring some pretty graphic animal harm and violence. Naturally, some users who really have a soft spot for pets and intolerance for more graphic material had a big problem with Netflix not warning them that something so gross would be coming. Now, the target audience for a documentary about a person who tortures and murders kittens alongside some other pretty heinous material must be pretty specific. But, even people who are decidedly not in that pool had to sit through some of that trailer while navigating to whatever else they were trying to watch. Netflix itself has called the series “very tough to watch at times” on their brand Twitter account. Still, the tech team has gone in and tweaked it so that the title doesn’t just start playing without warning now.
For the uninitiated, Netflix’s user interface got a change not too long ago that makes all content autoplay whenever users linger on a specific title. The preview stops whenever there is user movement on the menu. But, the problem with these sorts of choices has always been with content warnings and age-related concerns for various shows and movies. By not waiting for an affirmative input, services that provide content leave the door open for moments like this to occur. In some ways, this situation could have been even sketchier if other more racy content were available on the service.
Hunting an Internet Killer’s trailer begins like most documentaries with file footage and sourced Internet videos. But, it quickly twists into that violent disturbing content and that didn’t give people anywhere near enough time to process what is going on before having to deal with a bunch of dead cats on their screen. It’s not ideal and honestly, the social media screenshots of the trailer are not pretty. (Seriously, don’t go looking for that if you have a weak stomach.)
People had to band together to warn other users of what could be lurking on their selection screens. Other users resorted to plugins like Netflix Classic or solutions like it. But, that sort of workaround won’t apply to everyone. Even adjusting “Post-Play” on the platform won’t get rid of the previews, which many people have discovered over time. According to Gizmodo, one user reached out to Netflix for a comment and the service said that they were already looking into it after fielding a bunch of the same requests. So, hold your pets close, maybe that will make everyone feel a little bit better after these upsetting developments.