Netflix quickly pulls back controversial plan to stop password sharing

Netflix has removed a controversial new plan to thwart password sharing by requiring trusted devices to log in at the primary location once a month

February 03, 2023 01:06 pm | Updated 03:52 pm IST

File photo of the Netflix logo against a screen.

File photo of the Netflix logo against a screen. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Streaming giant Netflix has removed a controversial plan to thwart password sharing by requiring trusted devices to log in at the primary location once a month, and instead opted for periodic device verification.

Snapshots of a now-deleted update in Netflix’s help centre showed that Netflix wanted users to create a trusted device they would connect to the Wi-Fi at the user’s primary location in order to watch something once every 31 days. However, this was later removed and replaced with device verification through a code instead.

“As long as the device being used to watch Netflix is using the internet connection in the primary account owner’s household, we will not require verification,” said the company in its help centre page for India.

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However, Netflix did not specify how it planned to handle users who are willing to share verification codes with those borrowing their passwords. The company’s now-deleted 31-day rule prompted tremendous outcry on social media, as many questioned how household members living apart for extended periods would be able to use Netflix. Others threatened to cancel their accounts or turn to pirated media instead.

Netflix’s new co-CEO Greg Peters confirmed to Bloomberg earlier in the year that the company was planning to stop password sharing. However, Mr. Peters was optimistic that putting out high-quality content would bring back password-borrowers even if many were unhappy with the decision.

One estimate suggested that over one hundred million households accessed Netflix without paying for it.

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