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Netflix Needs a Netfix


You may have heard about Netflix planning (threatening?) to crack down on password sharing in the past. In the last week or so, they revealed their plans to do so. The internet did not respond well.

The first piece of information to understand here is that Netflix intends each account to be for those who live in the same household and them alone. Furthermore, a household, in Netflix’s eyes, are people who live in the same geographical location as the account owner. You may be wondering how Netflix would know if someone from a different household, by their definition, is using the account. They are checking that via WiFi connections. A “Netflix Household” is a group of people who live in the same geographical location as the account owner and use the same WiFi source.

And those who don’t reside in the same geographical location and use the same WiFi as the account holder? They are supposed to sign up for their own account.

Now that we understand who is able to share and who is not able to share, let’s look at how Netflix will be enforcing this. After users have set a primary location for their accounts, any device that is not being used at the primary location will risk being blocked. The only way to keep them from being unblocked while being used off-site is to log onto the account at least once a month from the primary location.

There are quite a few problems here already. What about college students living on campus and away from their primary household? What about children with divorced parents who jump from one household to the other? What about travelling nurses who don’t stay in one location for too long? What about those who live in vans and are travelling around the country? Where do they fit in with all of this?

So understandably, users were quick to share this dislike of these changes, and many cancelled their subscription altogether in response to them. Here’s what some Twitter users had to say:

  • From user @mymyatwaterloo – “netflix managed to piss off *checks notes* college students, divorced families, extended families, just about every fan of every cancelled show, people on vacation ?”
  • From user @SkullPirateMike – “This is apparently device-locked, not account-locked, meaning that students living away from home need to lug their Xbox or TV home from the dorm once a month to keep watching. @netflix is about to lose the entire college demographic lol”
  • From user @erinbiba – “I have had @netflix since 1997 (Oh god 26 years) and their new password policies requiring monthly log-ins and travel codes (treating customers like criminals) AND the fact that they cancel every new series after the 1st season I’m genuinely considering canceling my subscription.”
  • From user @davenewworld_2 – “Cancel Netflix. They just lost my business. “Passwords-sharing” is not a thing, it’s called password-using. This is regressive bullshit borne out of capitalist greed to squeeze more money out of us. People paid for a password and they use it wherever they go.”

It’s clear to see that Netflix did not have a good response to these policies; but they’re a mature and intelligent company, right? They owned up to this fault, right?


In response to outrage by their userbase, Netflix attempted to fix the problem by stating that the password sharing rules were posted “by mistake.”

“Ok, sure, we buy that,” said everyone on Twitter. Not.

  • From user @itsmeganokay – “Not Netflix backtracking and saying the password sharing stuff wasn’t for the US and was posted by mistake 💀 Their US-based customer service reps were confirming the change. Netflix…literally how embarrassing. “Oops that was my friend hehe” like 🤪”
  • From user @corvidrogue – “netflix: that was posted in error! when will corporations just own up to their mistakes like…you pissed everyone off so bad and then you found a way to be even MORE annoying about it? no one believes you when you go “haha oopsie!”
  • From user @gvaughnjoy – “Collectively Twitter was able to raise enough hell and say directly to Netflix "if you take away password sharing, we will withdraw all our accounts and pirate media" and Netflix said "omg that was an accident" and reversed it. So we do understand the power of collective action.”
  • From user @Takon_dwa – “Netflix could have just said “we have heard our customers and will be going back to the drawing board with this” but they chose to tell such an embarrassing lie. “Posted by mistake?”That was so unnecessary pls 🤣😭”

There’s a lot to be said about Twitter users pointing out Netflix’s subpar coverup. The consumers are no longer trusting the company, and as we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, trust is a challenging thing to build but a super easy thing to destroy. Netflix is experiencing the effects of that destruction now, and the rebuild will be even harder.

What Netflix should have done is exactly what @Takon_dwa said, to admit to their mistake and reiterate that they heard their customers’ concerns, and they are committed to keeping their customers happy. Honesty would have gone a long way here toward repairing the damage of this (potential) password-sharing policy. Trust is built when those in the wrong admit they were wrong.

Let's hope that Netflix can fix this.

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