It has been known for some time that Netflix intends to take steps to prevent subscribers from sharing their account with anyone from outside their household. Since the inception of Netflix, password sharing has been a common practice, so the company’s action will impact large numbers of people.
Details about just how it will stop people from sharing their account password with others have not been forthcoming, but in a newly-removed Help Center page the approach that will be taken has been exposed. Although the revealing page has now been taken down, it has been recorded for posterity by the Internet Archive.
First spotted by The Streamable, details of Netflix’s anti-password sharing measures appeared on a page in the company’s US Help Center pages. In a section headed Who can use a Netflix account, it is explained: “Anyone in your household (those who live with you at your primary location) can use your Netflix account. To ensure that your devices are associated with your primary location, connect to the Wi-Fi at your primary location, open the Netflix app or website, and watch something at least once every 31 days”.
A snapshot of the deleted page can be seen here, and on it Netflix says:
People who aren’t part of your household will need to use their own account to watch Netflix. Devices that are not part of your primary location may be blocked from watching Netflix.
Netflix will not automatically charge you if you share your account with someone who doesn’t live with you.
Netflix will, it seems, start blocking devices that access an account from unusual locations. The company explains:
When someone signs into your account from a device that is not part of your primary location, that device may be blocked from watching Netflix.
If your device has been blocked, you have the following options:
– If you are traveling, request a temporary code to give you access to Netflix for 7 consecutive days.
– If you are not part of the account owner’s household, sign up for a new Netflix account.
When starting a new account or adding an extra member, members can transfer a profile from an existing account, including recommendations, viewing history, My List, saved games, settings, and more.
If someone is using your account without your permission, we recommend you review recently active devices for your account and sign out of any unfamiliar devices. You should also reset your password immediately.
Reiterating the need to keep signing into an account from the account household on a regular basis, Netflix says:
To ensure uninterrupted access to Netflix, connect to the Wi-Fi at your primary location, open the Netflix app or website, and watch something at least once every 31 days. This creates a trusted device so you can watch Netflix, even when you’re away from your primary location.
The company says in the help documentation that it uses “information such as IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity to determine whether a device signed into your account is connected to your primary location”. This should not, however, impact on subscribers’ ability to stream content when travelling because of the availability of temporary access codes.
But with Netflix yet to confirm its plans, and with the pertinent pages having been deleted, it is hard to say if this will end up being the company approach to tackling password sharing or not.