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Netflix hasn’t confirmed its plans to stop password sharing just yet

Netflix hasn’t confirmed its plans to stop password sharing just yet


Netflix won’t say for sure how it will crack down on password sharing, but said the info on its support pages is only for the Latin American countries where it rolled out the “Extra Member” set up last year,

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An illustration of the Netflix logo.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Based on info from Netflix’s support pages, a report published by The Streamable appeared to confirm details about how it will roll out anti-password sharing features in the US and elsewhere. However, Netflix hasn’t announced the details of its plan yet or what it may look like when it rolls out more widely this year.

Netflix spokesperson Kumiko Hidaka said in a statement given to The Streamable and The Verge that “For a brief time on Tuesday, a help center article containing information that is only applicable to Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, went live in other countries. We have since updated it.”

We already know that Netflix is planning to roll out password sharing more broadly within the coming months. Netflix has been testing the program with subscribers in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru since early last year, where it started to require users to pay extra for additional users located outside of the subscriber’s primary household.

In its report, The Streamable cites this Netflix help center page as the source for its information. However, the information included in the article for US customers — and visible on an Internet Archive page captured yesterday — doesn’t match what is listed today. Right now, that information is only available on the pages for the Central and South American test countries.

Hidaka explained in an emailed statement to The Verge that the text seen is applicable where Netflix rolled out its “Extra Member” offering in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru in March, but not in the US or other countries where that isn’t available. As far as what else is confirmed so far, she pointed to Netflix’s earnings statement from January, saying that “Later in Q1, we expect to start rolling out paid sharing more broadly.”

The rules on the archived page (and pages for the Extra Member-enabled countries) state that only the people located in your primary household can use a single Netflix subscription. In order for multiple devices to use a single subscription, Netflix says you must “connect to the Wi-Fi at your primary location, open the Netflix app or website, and watch something at least once every 31 days” on the devices you and your household members use to watch Netflix, to stop device blocks on “trusted devices” that you can use anywhere.

The archived support page says Netflix could block a device “that is not part of your primary location.”
The archived support page says Netflix could block a device “that is not part of your primary location.”
Image: Internet Archive / Netflix

The US-centric page we can access today states that “people who do not live in your household will need to use their own account to watch Netflix.” That’s in contrast to the page for Costa Rica, Chile, and Peru, which says that you’re required to add an extra member for anyone using your subscription outside your household. It also adds that it will use your IP address, device ID, and account activity to determine when someone else is using your account.

Similarly, the currently available US support page about what Netflix considers a “household” is vastly different from the pages in Costa Rica, Chile, and Peru. On the US page, the company only describes its idea of a household as “people who live in the same location with the account owner.” Meanwhile, the pages for the three South and Central American countries provide more detail on how to change your primary household, sign out of accounts on devices in different locations, or what might cause a device to become blocked.

This is a glimpse at what you could expect when Netflix’s crackdown on password sharing goes into effect globally and what kind of headaches it could bring to people who just need to watch from multiple locations or people who love to use VPNs inside the privacy of their own homes.

But when it comes to how Netflix will try to push users in the US or other countries to purchase sub-accounts for all of the exes, cousins, former roommates, and complete strangers who hitch a ride on our streaming accounts, it’s not ready to tell.

Update February 2nd, 3:37PM ET: Added statement from Netflix about the updates to the support pages.