Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is waging a PR war against Comcast through Facebook.
For the second time in two weeks, Hastings used his personal account to complain about the Internet provider, and at least one prominent tech journalist thinks it’s a curious move.
Hastings’ beef with Comcast is over its apparent attack on net neutrality.
Here’s the gist: All of Comcast’s residential users are subject to data caps
, meaning the amount of data they use per month cannot exceed 250 GB. Streaming video from Netflix, Hulu, or HBO GO counts against that cap; however, video streamed through Comcast’s app—Xbox 360 Xfinity—does not count.
Critics say this setup gives Comcast an unfair advantage. Why watch video on Netflix or Hulu, when you can watch it via Comcast’s app and not eat up your data for the month? This practice also violates the principal of net neutrality, which forbids Internet providers from restricting users’ access to the Web, according to Hastings.
Here’s how Hastings put it on his Facebook page
“Comcast no longer following net neutrality principles.
“Comcast should apply caps equally, or not at all.
“I spent the weekend enjoying four good internet video apps on my Xbox: Netflix, HBO GO, Xfinity, and Hulu.
“When I watch video on my Xbox from three of these four apps, it counts against my Comcast internet cap. When I watch through Comcast’s Xfinity app, however, it does not count against my Comcast internet cap.
“For example, if I watch last night’s SNL episode on my Xbox through the Hulu app, it eats up about one gigabyte of my cap, but if I watch that same episode through the Xfinity Xbox app, it doesn’t use up my cap at all.
“The same device, the same IP address, the same wifi, the same internet connection, but totally different cap treatment.
“In what way is this neutral?”
Airing this grievance on Facebook is an odd approach, says All Things Digital’s Peter Kafka
, because the top executive “has all sorts of ways to complain [against]/lobby Comcast.”
Kafka added: “I continue to find it fascinating that he’s taken to posting on Facebook for this stuff. (Another reminder: Hastings is a Facebook board member).”
Thus far, Kafka’s Facebook post has received roughly 700 likes and 150 comments.
Two weeks ago, Hastings took to Facebook to complain that he couldn’t watch HBO GO on the Xfinity app.
Hastings and Netflix’s PR department came under fire last year after several mishaps involving the rollout of a price hike and a failed spinoff company