This article was published on February 2, 2023 and updated on February 3
Netflix officially rolled out its anti-password-sharing measures across all of its operating regions, and safe to say fans weren’t happy. At all.
But, a day later, Netflix is all "we were jk" and removed the anti-password-sharing rules from its site.
When Netflix announced last year that it would introduce new measures to tackle sharing account passwords across all regions, fans were justifiably outraged.
We’re all “guilty” of it, right? A friend or family member pays for an account that several of us share or the price shared between us.
For many, it’s a convenience; for others who cannot afford the subscription fee (which has significantly risen since the platform first became available), it’s the only way to access Netflix's content.
Presumably part of a bid to boost falling profits, Netflix quietly introduced measures that require each household to have its own password on February 2.
The move wasn't officially announced but it was clarified in new rules added to Netflix's Terms of Service page.
How would this work exactly? Well, as per the Netflix updated Help Center documents: "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 access Netflix even when you’re away from your primary location.
If you're traveling, you'll be able to watch Netflix simply by logging into your account. But if you're away for an "extended period of time" — presumably, more than 31 days — Netflix says that "your device may be blocked from watching Netflix."
Netflix users are understandably pissed off, having utilized the platform using shared passwords since its launch in 2007. 16 years later, they're wondering why Netflix would attempt to parcel out accounts even after several price hikes.
As new of these measures spread across the globe, social media reactions, as you can see for yourself, were far from positive.
Many users claimed that they'd delete their accounts altogether rather than fund Netflix's "selfish" change.
Others set their sights on pirate sites, asserting that they'd rather pirate films and TV than support Netflix.
A recurring throughline across Twitter is that the current Netflix content offering is too lackluster to justify such a strict change, which could in turn spell good fortune for competing streaming services such as HBO, Amazon Prime, and Disney+.
Seeing so many people shut out of the opportunity to find, share, and enjoy new forms of media is clearly being taken as a huge slap in the face to those less privileged or even those simply unable to access their Netflix accounts within the timeframe.
With streaming services already coming at a high personal cost during a cost-of-living crisis, restrictions and locks on access to content will only guarantee more people closed off from media consumption or encouraged to pirate their entertainment to the detriment of everyone involved in creating it.
However, Netflix confirmed on February 3 that the password sharing crackdown wouldn't actually come to pass, claiming that the anti-password-sharing rules were published "in error." Not hard to believe that Netflix really just saw the writing on the wall, though.
Who's to say that Netflix won't introduce these rules in due time, though?
For now, whether Netflix course-corrected to fix an error or quell widespread backlash, it's fine by us. Keep streaming accessible, please.