Netflix Says New Password-Sharing Rules Were Shared in Error, Not Applicable to US

Netflix subscribers, and those leaching a Netflix account off of somebody else, can breathe a sigh of relief. After the streamer dropped what appeared to be new details about its long-awaited and dreaded restrictions on password sharing, the company is clearing the air, with Netflix clarifying Thursday that those highly-reported password-sharing rules were posted in error.

Shortly after the Netflix Help Center shared a since-deleted document detailing the rules surrounding new password-sharing limitations, something that sparked plenty of anger online and threats to cancel Netflix subscriptions, a Netflix spokesperson revealed that the document was published in error and is not applicable to the United States. In a statement to The Streamable, the spokesperson explained, "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. We have since updated it." The spokesperson did not say when rules regarding the upcoming password-sharing restrictions in the U.S. would be released, though they did confirm that when such rules are implemented, customers will be informed in advance.

What appeared to be rules set out by the company for the U.S. implementation of a password-sharing ban, which has been tested in other regions over the past year, went out in late January via an updated Help Center document. Although that document quickly disappeared, it was spotted by The Streamable and remains available via Wayback Machine. In the document, Netflix explained that when the restrictions were implemented, only those in your household, defined as "those who live with you at your primary location," will be able to use your Netflix account, adding that "people who aren't part of your household will need to use their own account to watch Netflix." The company explained, "to ensure that your devices are associated with your primary location, connect to the Wi-Fi at your primary location, open the Netflix app or website, and watch something at least once every 31 days."

Per the document, Netflix would use information such as IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity "to determine whether a device signed into your account is connected to your primary location." If a device wasn't connected to your primary location's wifi at least once in the past 31 days, it would be blocked. To prevent being blocked while traveling, subscribers would need to request a temporary access code to continue watching. However, if your device has been connected to your Wi-Fi within the past 31 days, it would not be blocked.

While it remains to be seen what anti-password-sharing measures will look like in the U.S., one detail about the restrictions is known. In the company's fourth-quarter 2022 earnings report, co-CEO Greg Peters in January confirmed that the restrictions will roll out in March of this year, though an exact date has not yet been provided.