Friendspire: Movies, TV, Book‪s

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Friendspire: Movies, TV, Book‪s App Poster Image
Fantastic, friendly media finder with some mature content.

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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Created for entertainment and not intended for learning.

Ease of Play

Menus are clear, and it's easy to navigate and find content.

Violence

Photo stills and previews of movies, TV shows, and books may contain mildly violent scenes.

Sex

Photo stills and previews of movies, TV shows, and books, and recommended lists, may show scantily clad adults and/or reference sexual activity.

Language

Generally, there's little swearing in previews, but uder-generated content could contain profanity.

Consumerism

Brand names throughout, such as commercial streaming services.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Photo stills and previews of movies, TV shows, and books may contain scenes of drinking, drugs, or smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Friendspire: Movies, TV, Book‪s is a social networking app for adults that creates communities around recommendations for movies, TV shows, books, podcasts, and restaurants. There's no option for setting the app to focus on family-friendly content only, so expect media recommendations to include content that may not be age appropriate for kids or teens. In fact, the app's terms and conditions indicate that the app is for users 18 years of age or older, though the content is technically fine for younger teens, too. The app asks for a birthdate when users sign up, but indicating you're younger than 18 doesn't bar access.

As users browse through media titles and submit reviews of what they've watched, read, or listened to, the algorithm adjusts future suggestions accordingly. There are direct links to commercial streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, and more. Users sign in with an email address, or through an Apple, Google, or Facebook account. The Food & Drinks section asks users to turn on their device's location services so that the app can generate location-based recommendations. Users can share their recommendations, lists, and reviews with friends through the device's sharing menu, or through their Facebook friends. It's set up to support English, Danish, German, Spanish, and French speakers. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

After signing in to FRIENDSPIRE: MOVIES, TV, BOOKS, provide some basic information to help the algorithm pick out content that will interest you. Choose language (five options), favorite category (movies, TV, books, or podcasts), genre (e.g., comedy, family, documentary), and find a title you really love and provide a review of it. Browse through the feed to read the latest lists such as The End: The 21 Books to Cure Your Wanderlust. The Find menu allows users to find content by genre, streaming service, trending titles, "Best of" lists, recommendations based on your reviews and previous activity in the app, and friends you've chosen to follow.

At any point tap the plus sign to write a rating, create a list, or find a friend to follow. Most titles include a summary, a preview, ratings, where to find it (including direct links to streaming services), and more. The Food & Drinks sections works similarly, but needs access to your location to give you recommendations for restaurants in your area. When you rate a title, you're often asked to classify it further. For example, you might rate a book and then get a pop-up asking you to select a genre for that title. Some of the searches are powered by other sources, like Goodreads, so information is taken from a variety of sources.

Is it any good?

This social media space makes it easy to find new things to watch, read, listen to, or eat -- but it's not meant for kids. Friendspire: Movies, TV, Books was clearly designed for adults. Content, lists, and reviews are in no way filtered or rated for appropriateness for kids or teens. Teens will likely not run across significant amounts of inappropriate content in the app itself. But recommended titles may be mature, and some lists may reference adult themes, such as "hottest Reality TV that will get you through quarantine." 

Friendspire: Movies, TV, Books isn't unique for its use of algorithms to make personalized recommendations. Nor is it unique for its curated lists of movies, TV series, podcasts, books, and restaurants -- though some might appreciate what the app's editors put out. Rather, the strength of Friendspire: Movies, TV, Books is that users can share what they like with friends, and get recommendations from people they trust, like Goodreads but for all kinds of media. For that to work, of course, users need to join the app together with their friends -- or find other users whose tastes they trust. And it's a nice addition to include local restaurant recommendations, though how well those work also depend on where you're located. Perhaps because it's in the early stages and the algorithm needs more information, users are frequently asked to classify titles. This is fine, but it could get tiresome. And the search isn't perfect depending on your access point. For instance, if you want to search by an author's name because you can't remember a book title, you may get some strange results -- like book club reading guides -- instead of that author's catalog. Overall, though, it's a well thought-out, useful tool that helps users sift through the neverending landscape of media and make that process more social.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Friendspire: Movies, TV, Books is not a good choice for kids and teens to find media appropriate for them. Help them look for other resources to share recommendations or find new media. 

  • If your kids or teens are interested in using social media, check out our guide on how to help them to do so safely.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love social networking and best-of lists

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