Yesterday, the internet was in a tizzy when Netflix (perhaps inadvertently) released some details about its long-gestating plan to prevent password sharing.

Based on information from Netflix's Help Center earlier this week, the original plan was to require passwords to be shared within households only. To ensure this, every device you're logged into must connect to the Wi-Fi at a designated "primary location" and watch something at least once every 31 days.

According to Yahoo! Finance, Netflix planned to use "IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity" to determine who was at the primary location.

What if you're not at that primary location? Blocked! You can get a code to watch for seven days, but it's not clear if the device will be blocked from the account permanently after those seven days.

However, today, Netflix is walking back some of these policy changes. Apparently, this information was part of a Help Center update that has now been removed, per The Streamable.

“For a brief time yesterday, a help center article containing information that is only applicable to Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, went live in other countries,” a spokesperson told The Streamable. “We have since updated it.”

Hmm. Maybe this is because the social media blowback to Netflix's crackdown was swift, angry, and widespread. For example:


Yeah, no, @netflix. Nope. Definitely not. Not even a little bit. #netflix #fail #netflixfail #netflixpasswordsharing

The basic problem here is not only trying to charge users for something they've been using one way for years but also the timing and general ennui with how difficult and expensive life already is. As this TikToker points out, the minute Netflix starts asking users to start jumping through complicated hoops, it will likely lose a significant portion of its user base.

Additionally, Netflix seems to have rolled out this update without considering or clarifying several factors.

What about soldiers deployed overseas for significant periods?

What about young students temporarily away from their family's primary location?

What about individuals who rely on a rotation of libraries or schools for their internet?

What about people who are hospitalized or in treatment facilities?

In each case, will users be forced to get a new account?

One person on TikTok claims this is exactly what Netflix told them to do. A customer service rep told a user, "Netflix defines a household as people who live together in the same location. Whoever doesn't live with you will need to create a separate account."


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Honestly, the idea of having to physically take a device from any of these potential connection points back to a primary location feels like a lot of trouble, and many on social media are echoing that sentiment.

Many are also pointing out that Netflix might be overvaluing itself in an environment filled with other streaming options—they are not the only player anymore.

Whether Netflix was testing these choppy waters by leaking the policy or it truly was an error, the company should have a pretty good idea of how poorly this proposed change might go. (For what it's worth, the fact that U.S. customer service reps were trained and prepared to answer these questions this week suggests the rollout was not, as Netflix claims, a mistake.)

But let us know how you feel about it in the comments.