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Netflix once said ‘love is sharing a password’. Now users are heartbroken.


What is love? Streaming giant reports this Netflix in 2017: “Love is sharing a password.”

At least 100 million households worldwide took that sentiment to heart and exchanged Netflix references with friends, family and loved ones. The “what’s mine is yours” step in a new relationship meant sharing the opportunity to watch the latest true crime documentary or reality TV. Awesome shows connected parents and their children who live far from home. You knew your relationship was really over when your ex changed his Netflix password, leaving you locked out.

But that was then and this is now.

The California-based streaming giant is going to crack down on password sharing, stressing that “a Netflix account is for people who live together in the same household,” with people who don’t live at the same address likely to soon requiring their own accounts — leading users to lament the end of an era and remember stories of love, friendships, and breakups made possible by shared passwords.

Sharing a Netflix password used to be “one step closer to ‘I do’,” one Twitter lamented userwhile another noted: “netflix really went from ‘love is sharing your password’ to ‘we’re going to block your access if you don’t return to your parent’s house across the country in 31 days’.”

The latest backlash began after Netflix accidentally updated its Help Center page for some countries on Wednesday, which said users must connect to Wi-Fi networks in their “primary location” at least once every 31 days to ensure their devices are still connected. have access to their account. Devices not associated with the account’s primary location may be blocked from Netflix unless the account owner pays more to add an additional member.

Netflix is ​​ready to tackle account sharing. What happens now?

The policy sparked outrage from global users and Netflix stepped in to say the policy had not yet been implemented everywhere. “Yesterday a help center article with information only applicable to Chile, Costa Rica and Peru went live in other countries. We have since updated it,” said Netflix spokesperson MoMo Zhou. The company has not given a date when the change may apply to users in the United States or elsewhere. About 30 million households in the US and Canada use the service.

Nevertheless, the damage seems to have been done, with Netflix users around the world claiming the approach misunderstands what modern households are – that’s often long-distance couples or families with kids in college, as well as individual users who travel for work or not. t have a stable abode – its like.

“I’ve had Netflix for 13 years and I’m really going to cancel this. My sister and I share an account, does it really matter if we don’t live together? It’s still 2 people using it anyway. Horrible,” noticed a person.

“This policy is based on the premise: that there is a commonly understood, universal meaning of ‘household’ and that software can determine who is and who is not a member,” noticed another.

Others, including gymnast Simone Biles, have spoken of the immense inconvenience of having to re-login to Netflix every 31 days to confirm their primary location and credentials.

Late night talk show hosts in the US have made jokes about the decision, urging Netflix execs to change their mind, others have joked that they should diary “Happy Monthly Netflix Log In Day.”

Users have also criticized the inconvenience for people who travel frequently for work – a particular concern given the rise of remote working.

“As someone who is often away from home for long periods of time, ease of use was a big deal,” one Reddit user wrote, adding that he plans to cancel his account “and use Netflix three months a year, because in my particular situation, this is too much hassle.”

Others were concerned about data privacy implications, with digital rights activist Evan Greer tweetTo: “Has anyone taken a deep dive into the privacy and security implications of Netflix fingerprinting your home Wi-Fi network and essentially creating a record of when you’re home or not… just to address password sharing? “

Netflix knows you’re sharing your password. It tests a way to hold you back.

The streaming giant has argued that “monetizing unpaid viewing” is essential to its future. “Today’s widespread shared account (more than 100 million households) undermines our ability to invest in and improve Netflix over the long term, and to build our business,” a letter to investors said last month.

However, users have accused Netflix of hypocrisy, drawing attention to Netflix’s past posts, which at times seemed to celebrate or wink at password sharing.

At CES 2016, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company thought it was “great” for people to share Netflix accounts, describing it as “a positive thing, not a negative thing,” according to CNET.

And in 2020, a Twitter user said his brother’s ex-partner “stole our Netflix for the past two months” and called her account “settings” to avoid being discovered. ‘I’m not even angry. I’m just really disappointed in myself for actually believing an account called “settings” would be legitimate Netflix settings,” the user said.

Netflix’s official account simply replied, “Respect.”

In 2021, following a pandemic-related boom in demand for streaming services and amid a veritable explosion of new rival streaming services such as HBOmax, Netflix began testing ways to restrict password sharing between some users.

The company has acknowledged that it could face a wave of initial cancellations due to a crackdown on password sharing. However, citing some success in growing engagement in Latin America after the paid sharing test rolled out last year, the company said that “as borrower families begin to activate their own standalone accounts and additional member accounts are added, we expect improved overall sales.”

Netflix Adds 7.7 Million Subscribers, Better Than Forecast; CEO Reed Hastings is stepping down

And while the company had a rocky start to 2022, it added 7.7 million new subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2022, beating forecasts. Growth was largely driven by the success of content such as the Addams Family spin-off TV series ‘Wednesday’ and the royal documentary ‘Harry & Meghan’, both hits with global audiences. Netflix now has 231 million paying subscribers worldwide.

Rachel Lerman contributed to this report.

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