After putting it off for years, Netflix has finally revealed its new password-sharing policy. Subscribers can only share their accounts with people who live at the same address, according to the company’s website. It’s important to note, however, that the new information varies by country and details could change in the future.
As it stands, the strict new rules — which Netflix says it will enforce by monitoring “IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity” — are already facing backlash online. For instance, subscribers expressed concern that the new rules would make the service unusable for people who travel often.
“Netflix’s ‘home network’ change will be challenging. Can’t share family login with kids away at university. Or with elderly parents. Can’t watch while travelling (sic) for work or on holidays. Forget about taking a Netflix with you on sabbatical, extended travel, or to a holiday home,” Fernando Gros wrote on Twitter.
Under the new policy, traveling subscribers will have to request a temporary code, which will let them watch Netflix at a different location for seven consecutive days. Travelers who are away from their primary location for more than 31 days “may be blocked” from the service and will have to update their primary residence or request an access code.
And if you’re one of the 100 million users who share passwords, you’ll either have to create a separate account or officially add an extra member for an additional cost. While the latter option will only be available to Standard and Premium members, an extra member will be cheaper than a standalone subscription.
“These are the kind of rigid restrictions you'd be forced to tolerate on a rigid work VPN system,” a Redditor on r/Television writes. “Does Netflix not know that they're an optional entertainment service, and people don't need to deal with that? They're about to find out.”
Netflix password sharing is certainly going to have a massive impact on college kids.— Cullen (@cullend) February 1, 2023
I doubt their parents will cancel Netflix subs over it, but I can absolutely see college kids just abstaining from Netflix and absolutely tanking their viewing hours
Many subscribers on Twitter and Reddit said that they planned to cancel the service following Netflix’s password crackdown.
“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 said on Twitter.
Frustrated customers on social media also resurfaced a Netflix tweet that hasn’t aged well … to say the least.
“Love is sharing a password,” Netflix tweeted back in 2017.
Whether Netflix will lose subscribers remains to be seen. Consumers complained after Netflix launched its ad-supported tier in November 2022 — and yet the streaming giant doubled its ad-supported subscriber base and gained 7.7 million new users, according to its last quarterly report.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will Netflix's new account-sharing policy work?
While details are still in flux, it seems like Netflix will only allow users to share accounts with people who live at the same address, aka "primary location." If you travel, for example, you'll be blocked from accessing your account unless you receive a temporary seven-day access code. Standard and Premium subscribers may have the option to share an account for an additional fee, however.
When will Netflix's password crackdown come into effect?
According to a January shareholder letter, the password crackdown will come into effect globally by the end of March.
How will Netflix enforce its account-sharing policy?
Netflix will use IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity to block password sharing. Users who share an account are expected to pay additional fees.