Even Netflix doesn’t know what its password-sharing rules should be

Even Netflix doesn’t know what its password-sharing rules should be

Netflix apparently hasn’t decided what its password sharing rules should be, as it recently made changes to those rules, almost immediately reverting back to its original rules.

If you’ve somehow missed it over the past year, Netflix said it wants to prevent users from sharing their passwords. Indeed, according to the company’s view, these sharers compromise its ability to invest in its platform and content – ​​weakening its position as one of the best streaming services and reducing the amount it can invest in news. best Netflix shows.

But exactly how it will limit password sharing may not have been finalized yet – the rules seem to change and change again in the space of days.

On January 27, we shared an explanation of how Netflix will prevent you from sharing passwords. The TL; DR is that Netflix will use the device data and IP addresses of account users to determine if they are part of a household – a group of people living together. If they are a household, they can share an account, however, if Netflix thinks the people don’t live together, it will periodically ask users who may not be in the household to verify their device, using a code sent to registered account. email or phone number.

However, if you were to visit the Netflix Account Sharing FAQ (opens in a new tab) on January 31, 2023 (you can still do so using the Wayback Machine archive (opens in a new tab)), you would see this instead of this verification process, the rules instead stated that users must connect to the Wi-Fi associated with the primary account location “at least once every 31 days”. If you exceeded that time, you would be locked out and could only regain access to Netflix by using a seven-day temporary code or signing up for a new Netflix account.

But if you visit the page today (at the time of writing, i.e. Feb 2, 2023), it is back to showing the original verification method. The company told The Streamable (opens in a new tab) that the change was an error and that the information is only meant to be applicable in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru; a spokesperson reportedly added that if a significant change occurs, it will communicate it to customers in advance.

That being said, even if the change was a mistake, we wouldn’t be surprised if the new rules were indeed to hit regions beyond the current three-country roster soon. As Netflix prepares to launch its paid account sharing service worldwide soon, it could also be preparing to update its rules.

If so, the new rules would apparently benefit some account sharers more than others. They would make it easier for people who live nearby to share passwords – you just need to visit the person you charge for free once a month – but they would make it much harder for those who live far away from one. on the other to divide an account.

A selection of Netflix original shows and movies (Image credit: Netflix)… pray Netflix doesn’t alter it further

We don’t expect this to be the last time Netflix changes its password sharing rules.

In our Netflix password sharing guide, we already pointed out that VPNs can cause streamer headaches. Since these tools allow users to hide their IP address and device details — information that Netflix has said it will use to track who is and is not in a legitimate household — this may place restrictions on users. people using VPNs. This could mean that it will block the use of VPNs entirely – a restriction it already imposes on its “Basic with Ads” tier subscribers – or it could simply ask VPN users to check their device more frequently than non-VPN users.

Although unlikely, we could also see Netflix make its password sharing rules less restrictive. Parts of South America have already had the chance to test its new paid password-sharing system, and subscribers there have hated it. If there’s widespread backlash as the service rolls out worldwide, Netflix might decide that password sharing is a necessary evil, especially since there are plenty of streaming services out there that aren’t so strict, for which users might abandon Netflix.

We’ll have to wait and see what the streamer decides to do next, but all signs suggest it’s going to be a lot harder to share your Netflix password in 2023. So if you’ve shared someone’s account and you’ve got a new favorite show you haven’t had time to binge yet, either watch while you can or be prepared to pay for your own Netflix account.

If you’re considering quitting Netflix when password sharing restrictions are introduced, here are the best Netflix movies you should watch before you unsubscribe. And if you’re considering joining one of its rivals, here are the best Disney Plus shows and Prime Video movies you might want to watch.

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