Netflix draws criticism over password sharing crackdown

As news got around this weekend about Netflix testing additional fees for users who share passwords with people outside their households, customers expressed their anger.

Across social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit, users reacted to the news with threats to cancel or downgrade their service if Netflix begins expands the test, which prompts users to add subscriber accounts for up to two people they don’t live with at a lower price.

For now, Netflix is only testing the password sharing prompts for its members in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru. The company said it will “work on understanding the utility” of the new feature before making changes anywhere else in the world.

“We’ve always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account, with features like separate profiles and multiple streams in our Standard and Premium plans. While these have been hugely popular, they have also created some confusion about when and how Netflix can be shared. As a result, accounts are being shared between households - impacting our ability to invest in great new TV and films for our members,” wrote Chengyi Long, director of product innovation at Netflix, in a blog post.

Last year, GammaWire spotted tests for alerts for users that may be using someone else’s password. A screenshot reads “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” The alert then prompts users to request a verification code via email or text message.

Netflix’s password sharing crackdown comes as the company is phasing in price increases for its customers in the U.S. and Canada. The cost of its Basic plan rose from $8.99 per month to $9.99; its Standard plan, which increases the number of simultaneous streams, from $13.99 per month to $15.49; and its Premium plan, which increases the number of mobile devices that can access downloaded content, from $17.99 per month to $19.99.