Is the Netflix password sharing crackdown actually happening and what does it mean for shared accounts?

Netflix is trying to put an end to password sharing between households and users aren’t happy about it

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Although, in the past, Netflix has gone on the record encouraging account sharing among its over 200 million subscribers, things are about to change.

Earlier this week, the company announced that it actually plans on putting an end to the practice because it is impacting their "ability to invest in great new TV and films for our members." 

This isn't the first time that Netflix is trying to crack down on password sharing. Exactly a year ago, the company encouraged watchers to sign up for separate accounts by broadcasting this message to some users, "If you don't live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching." Around that time, Netflix also experimented with an account verification tool. 

In its most recent announcement, the streaming giant explained that it won't directly ban password sharing but it will start charging for it. The change will be tested in three countries: Chile, Costa Rica and Peru. Folks living in those nations will be allowed to transfer viewing profiles into new accounts but they will also be prompted to add an extra viewer to their packages at discounted prices as follows: 2,380 Chilean pesos, $2.99 US in Costa Rica and 7.9 Peruvian sol (they can add up to two profiles each). 

“While these [household plans] have been hugely popular, they have also created some confusion about when and how Netflix can be shared," Chengyi Long, the director of product innovation at Netflix said in an official statement. As a result, Chengyi said, accounts are being shared between households and not only within them.

In this photo illustration the Netflix logo seen displayed on a mobile phone and on a pc screen.

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Users are obviously not happy about the development—and they took to social media to complain about it. 

"Say, for example, [that] you work in different towns or states. You're not home all the time so you watch Netflix wherever and whenever you can. This [update] sounds like it would be annoying for people like that because they would be logging in on different devices but not sharing," one user wrote on Twitter.

Yet another person on Twitter noted, "How do you expect families to handle password sharing in the case of divorcees, their children, or college students away from home? We already pay a lot for it, now you're just milking us for every dollar spent."


The crackdown on password sharing isn’t the only reason why subscribers are angry. At the end of January, Netflix announced yet another price hike. The monthly cost for a basic US subscription increased by $1, to $9.99 monthly. The standard plan went up by $1.50, to $15.49 monthly and the premium plan now costs $19.99 per month, $2 more than it used to cost.

Netflix has obviously become a must-have across households all over the world, but we do wonder if the company is slowly reaching a tipping point as subscribers appear to be more vocal than usual about their complaints in recent months. 

Anna Rahmanan

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.