Final Nail in Netflix Coffin? Streaming Giant Reveals Details of Password-Sharing Crackdown

Netflix has announced some dramatic policy updates in a reinvigorated bid to crack down on users who may not be paying their fair share for the streaming titan’s services. While reports that Netflix would be cracking down on “password sharing” have been in circulation for months now, the streaming service confirmed its plan with an update to its Help Center, specifically under its “Sharing your Netflix account” page. Netflix was about as straightforward as it could be when it came to account sharing. “People who do not live in your household will need to use their own account to watch Netflix,” the site now says. “When a device outside of your household signs in to an account or is used persistently, we may ask you to verify that device before it can be used to watch Netflix or switch your Netflix household. We do this to confirm that the device using the account is authorized to do so.” Netflix said it “will not automatically charge you” if you share your account with someone who doesn’t live with you. So what does device verification entail? “When someone signs into your account from a device that is not associated with your Netflix household, or if your account is accessed persistently from a location outside of your household, we may ask you to verify that device before it can be used to watch Netflix,” the website says. “We do this to confirm that the device using the account is authorized to do so.” The verification typically will entail a 4-digit verification code being sent to an email or a phone number. It will then need to be entered within 15 minutes of being requested. Netflix said device verification “may be required periodically,” and there doesn’t appear to be any method to turn off that verification system. As far as how Netflix will determine what constitutes a “household”? The streaming site says it will use “information such as IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity from devices signed into the Netflix account.” While the above policies are all for Netflix users in the United States, other countries appear to be having even more stringent requirements. For instance, under the Costa Rica Help page, there is additional information regarding the policy changes. Like, say, what happens if you are traveling and want to use Netflix? “If you are traveling, request a temporary code to give you access to Netflix for 7 consecutive days,” it says. That nuisance seems positively helpful compared with how the company recommends you “ensure uninterrupted access” to its services. It suggests you “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.” So if you’re in a long-distance relationship, or are an out-of-state college student using their parents’ Netflix account, you had better plan a trip to meet each other or go back home every 31 days to ensure that your service remains unmolested. While many Netflix users will be upset about these moves, they might be necessary for the company’s survival. Despite still being the king of streaming services (by a fairly large margin), Netflix has hardly been immune to the harsh realities of this current economic climate. In December, it was revealed that Netflix had to pay back some of its advertisers due to a lack of viewership for its lower-priced ad-supported option. But even before that particular fiscal debacle, Netflix had experienced some headaches of its own making thanks to controversial programming such as “Cuties” (which sparked a wave of cancellations for its lurid depiction of minors) and “Q-Force” (an aggressively pro-LGBT “adult cartoon“). Both of those shows sparked a backlash, but it was largely a partisan backlash, with conservatives turning away. This new crackdown on sharing accounts could spark a bipartisan backlash, and that’s the last thing Netflix would want. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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