People aren’t happy about Netflix’s proposed plans to counter password sharing

Netflix has been testing methods to stop password sharing for months, but details on additional crackdowns on password sharing are already being dismissed, even without being officially announced.

The details were first released Tuesday, courtesy of The Streamable, which detailed who can use the same account, how someone sharing an account can transfer their profile, and how it handles travel. To access Netflix while you’re traveling, you’ll need a temporary code that you can use for seven days.

“To ensure uninterrupted access to Netflix, connect to Wi-Fi at your primary location, open the Netflix app or website, and watch at least once every 31 days,” according to an archived version of Netflix -Help center. “This creates a trusted device so you can watch Netflix even when you’re away from your main location.”

How does Netflix determine your primary location? Netflix uses “information such as IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity to determine if a device logged into your account is connected to your primary location.”

Netflix has since removed these changes from the Help Center.

“For a brief period yesterday, a Help Center article with information specific to Chile, Costa Rica and Peru went live in other countries,” a Netflix spokesperson told The Streamable, adding that Netflix customers previously would inform about changes they implement. “We’ve since updated it.”

It’s not clear how many, if any, of the proposed changes to how Netflix handles password sharing will ultimately go into effect; it told the Rand that “later in the first quarter we expect to begin the broader rollout of paid sharing.”

Netflix’s ultimate goal in cracking down on password sharing is to convert those who have used shared passwords, which is estimated to affect more than 100 million households, into subscribers. But the suggested methods recently removed from Netflix’s Help Center, such as: B. Constantly checking in, tracking users’ locations to determine where they are, and being able to make Netflix a real hassle while traveling are a recipe for disaster.

The streamer’s infamous 2017 tweet proclaiming that “love shares a password” also made the rounds again. It’s far from the first time Netflix’s “relatable” online brand has run into trouble over business decisions — look at when your favorite show was canceled — but five years later it makes Netflix seem hypocritical.

The proposed rule changes don’t appear to take into account people who are away for days or weeks, potentially locking them out of their accounts if they don’t log into their home network after 31 days. It also has little regard for college students living on campus who use family accounts and face similar problems. People who only use Netflix occasionally and still keep the account might also encounter problems when they actually want to watch something on Netflix. Some families may live in multiple locations and would also be pushed out of their accounts.

And as many people pointed out, that’s not Netflix’s only problem. And it might as well get some people to pirate Netflix shows instead.

“The funniest thing about this whole Netflix debacle is that they think they’re losing money sharing passwords, when in reality it’s the dwindling selection and cancellation of popular shows after about a season.” @ClTYOFMON tweeted.

In 2023, there are more TV shows to stream than ever before across multiple different streaming platforms. Netflix, with a reputation for canceling shows before they get a chance to thrive and with few tangible franchises, has fewer shows and films worth watching. And in general, it’s a lot more expensive to subscribe to streaming platforms, which might make people wonder if certain expenses are worth the cost. Could forcing people to share passwords lead to the creation of new subscribers? Secure. But it’s just as likely that, with all the hassle, sharing passwords can lead to more cancellations than letting people keep watching.


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*Initial publication: February 2, 2023 at 4:13 p.m. CST

Michelle Jaworsky

Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and television/film critic at the Daily Dot. Covering entertainment, geek culture and pop culture, she has covered everything from the Sundance Film Festival, NYFF and Tribeca to New York Comic Con and Con of Thrones. She lives in Brooklyn.

Michelle Jaworsky People aren’t happy about Netflix’s proposed plans to counter password sharing

Jaclyn Diaz

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