Black Mirror Season 6 Has Us Checking Netflix’s Terms & Conditions, But We’re Not Alone…

Black Mirror season 6’s first episode, Joan Is Awful, offers a dystopian glimpse at what can happen to those who fail to read lengthy user agreements.

WARNING: The following contains SPOILERS for Black Mirror’s “Joan Is Awful”.

Black Mirror season 6, episode 1, “Joan Is Awful,” has everyone checking Netflix’s terms & conditions. The first episode of the highly-anticipated new season of Black Mirror offers a major cautionary reminder to read the user agreements before signing up for familiar apps and services. The anthological Netflix series is known for introducing sinister and intriguing angles of potential future dystopian attributes in modern technologies. The latest social commentary in “Joan Is Awful” targets the threat of user agreements and what terms people could unknowingly be signing up for when they’re just trying to watch their favorite content on a streaming platform.


“Joan Is Awful” and other episodes of Black Mirror season 6 astonishingly insult Netflix in metaphysical and self-reflexive ways that poke fun at the not-so-user-friendly tactics used by top levels of the streaming giant to churn out relevant content. It seems that Netflix is very in on the joke and supports the satirical notions that “Joan Is Awful” aims to highlight in its hilarious yet unsettling story. The Netflix-parody service called “Streamberry” used in Black Mirror season 6 is portrayed as everyone’s favorite source of binge-worthy content until one of its users discovers that her life is being dramatized word-for-word into a scripted original series.

RELATED: Black Mirror Season 6 Episodes Ranked Worst To Best

Black Mirror’s “Joan Is Awful” Is A Nightmare Warning About Not Reading Streaming Services’ Terms & Conditions

Black Mirror Joan is Awful Annie Murphy as Joan in her office

Joan’s life is legally allowed to be recreated by Streamberry’s quantum computer because Joan didn’t read Streamberry’s terms & conditions when she first subscribed to the streaming service. As stated in Black Mirror by a legal representative, Joan consented to have her life monitored and exploited by Streamberry when she accepted their terms & conditions. Salma Hayek also seeks legal counsel who tells her there is no legal basis for a lawsuit against Streamberry by the same logic. Since people hardly ever read through terms & conditions in real life, the scene acts as a warning about what people could be agreeing to by not reading streaming services’ user agreements.

Many Black Mirror viewers have taken to the internet to make memes about checking Netflix’s terms & conditions in response to the “Joan Is Awful” episode. There has been a great deal of speculation about the legality of some of the clauses in the Streamberry terms & conditions, including how artificial intelligence disqualifies claims of defamation and using one’s likeness through CGI. “Joan Is Awful” offers a convincing argument for how a streaming service could theoretically pull this off in a world where likenesses can be licensed and replicated digitally by AI despite obvious ethical violations of subscribers’ privacy.

No, Netflix’s Terms & Conditions Don’t Permit Turning Subscribers’ Lives Into CGI TV Shows

Black Mirror Joan is Awful Streamberry offices

In reality, Netflix’s terms & conditions don’t allow them to pull off anything similar to what Streamberry did in the show. There are many legal and ethical limitations on what language can be used in user agreements. Including something that is egregiously hidden in the fine print would likely be caught by the few people who read those things. If Netflix were actually using user data to churn out targeted CGI content, it probably wouldn’t expose itself on one of its most popular shows. The concept is purely satirical in the Black Mirror universe but will likely make Netflix’s next terms & conditions update its most read version yet.

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