Netflix removes password crackdown rules from its site after backlash
Netflix’s contentious bid to prevent users from sharing their passwords has hit a speed bump.
Earlier this week, the streamer detailed plans to prevent people from accessing its service free through someone else’s account. The rules – which included a requirement that users must verify the devices they watch on at least once every 31 days – were trashed by some incensed customers who accused Netflix of being heavyhanded with subscribers.
Since the backlash began, Netflix removed the guidelines from its site in the UK and elsewhere just days after they first appeared online. The streamer claimed the measures were posted by accident, and that it would notify users of any major updates before their implementation.
“For a brief time yesterday, a help center article containing information that is only applicable to Chile, Costa Rica and Peru went live in other countries,” a Netflix spokesperson said. “We have since updated it.”
Netflix recently confirmed that its anti-password sharing enforcements would arrive in the UK in late March. As part of the crackdown, Netflix is expected to ask customers to fork out an extra fee to add additional members to an account, after implementing the policy in South America.
In countries where the new rules are already applicable, Netflix said it will limit access to its service to a single primary location based on the account holder’s wi-fi network and the devices connected to it. However, users will have to ensure they watch the service on a device at least once every 31 days to verify it. Otherwise, Netflix said the device may be blocked, effectively stopping them from accessing the streaming service on it.
I have had @netflix since 1997 (Oh god 26 years) and their new password policies requiring monthly log-ins and travel codes (treating customers like criminals) AND the fact that they cancel every new series after the 1st season I'm genuinely considering canceling my subscription.
— Erin Biba (@erinbiba) February 2, 2023
this is such a wild decision by Netflix lmao like, they're aware of long distance relationships, kids in college, and poor people right? pic.twitter.com/ffzqAhwdWb
— Bugs Maytrix 💗🖤💗 (50% off) (@bugsmaytrix) February 1, 2023
Everyone cancel your membership stop keeping these billion dollar companies get away with this bs #Netflix #cancelnetflix pic.twitter.com/ED1GZDDbAd
— Dont give me casa after 12 (@Sirgrimsalot) January 26, 2023
You can’t use your #Netflix account if travelling for more than 7 days, and have to sign into your home Wi-Fi at least once every 31 days? The obvious solution is to simply cancel it and use better streaming platforms then.
— Sarah O'Connell (@SarahO_Connell) February 2, 2023
The streamer has said that 100 million users are quietly using its service free of charge, causing it to lose out on billions of dollars in extra revenue.
Here’s what you need to know about how Netflix is restricting password sharing.
Who can use a Netflix account?
From March in the UK and in other countries, Netflix said an account will only be able to be used and shared by people in the same location as the account holder. It defines this primary location as a “Netflix household”, based on the home wi-fi network and the devices connected to it.
To ensure your household can stream Netflix, the company will require you to sign in and watch the service over wi-fi at your primary location at least once every 31 days.
If you move house, you can request to change your primary location via the “get help” section in the Netflix app, after which you will receive a text or email verification link asking you to update and confirm your new details.
Can you use Netflix while travelling?
Netflix said that you should be able to stream while temporarily away from home on verified devices once the location restrictions come into force. As mentioned above, these are the TVs, phones and laptops that you have streamed Netflix on at least once in the past 31 days.
This will allow you to watch Netflix even when you’re away from home. In order to avoid any disruption before you travel, Netflix said you should use your chosen device to watch the service over your home wi-fi before you leave.
If you find you can’t access Netflix on your device while travelling, you can request a temporary code to be sent to your phone or email by following the onscreen prompts. This will verify the device and allow you to watch Netflix for seven consecutive days.
How does Netflix know if you’re sharing passwords?
Netflix uses information such as your IP addresses, device IDs and account activity to determine if a device signed into your account is connected to your primary location. An IP, or internet protocol address, is a unique number that identifies a device on the internet or a local network.
How to add an extra person to your Netflix account
Once Netflix’s password-sharing crackdown reaches the UK, customers will be able to purchase an extra member slot for their existing accounts for an additional fee.
This can be done via your account page on the web or via the TV app. During sign-up, you will be asked to enter the email address or phone number for the person you want to add to your account, who will then receive an invitation to join. You will also be asked to review and confirm your new billing date and payment amount. Currently, subscribers on a standard Netflix plan can add one extra member, while those on a premium plan can add up to two extra members.
Though extra members can watch Netflix from anywhere, they must create their account in the same country as the account holder’s. The feature also comes with restrictions: extra members can only access Netflix on one device at a time, and they can only download titles on one phone or tablet at a time.
Can you transfer your Netflix history to a new account?
The good news is that people who split from their partner no longer needs to fight their ex for custody of the Netflix history. When starting a new account or adding an extra member, subscribers will be given the option to transfer a profile from an existing account, including recommendations, viewing history, My List, saved games, settings and more. Admittedly, this is a first-world problem.