UPDATE (05/24/2023): Netflix has announced how it intends to crack down on password sharing in the United States. In a May 23 update, Netflix said it will limit U.S. viewership of its programming to people living in the same household. Netflix subscribers will be able to allow another person living outside their household to use their password for an additional $8 per month.
PREVIOUS UPDATE (02/09/2023): Netflix faced backlash on social media last week after a help center article posted on the company's website unveiled a set of guidelines for cracking down on password sharing to all global users, including the United States. However, the company now says it mistakenly released those rules.
"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," a Netflix spokesperson told VERIFY in a statement.
On Jan. 19, the company announced that it has plans to tackle password sharing for users outside of Chile, Costa Rica and Peru by March 31, the end of the first quarter. Netflix hasn't released details yet on how it will roll out those plans in the U.S., but on Feb. 8., Netflix said it will start cracking down on password sharing in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain.
The original story remains as published below:
Netflix has more than 221 million subscribers worldwide. That’s more than any other streaming platform, including Disney+ and HBO Max.
Reed Hastings, Netflix’s co-founder and CEO, has long acknowledged that many more people than its 221 million subscribers actually view the streaming service’s content because of password sharing. In fact, two studies published during the coronavirus pandemic estimated almost a third of Netflix subscribers let people who live outside of their household use their account.
Recent headlines are warning people that Netflix will start cracking down on password sharing by requiring more password prompts and charging extra fees for additional users – and some subscribers based in the United States (here, here, and here) are voicing their concerns on social media.
Is Netflix testing ways to crack down on password sharing in the United States?
- Chengyi Long, director of product innovation at Netflix
- Netflix spokesperson
- Independent check of Netflix user logins in the United States
No, Netflix is not testing ways to crack down on password sharing in the United States. This is only happening in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru right now.
WHAT WE FOUND
The controversy surrounding the password-sharing crackdown originated after Chengyi Long, Netflix’s director of product innovation, published a news release titled “Paying to Share Netflix Outside Your Household” on the streaming service’s website on March 16.
In the news release, Long explains that Netflix will begin testing two new features that charge subscribers to share their accounts.
In the first new feature, standard and premium plan Netflix subscribers will be able to add “sub accounts” for up to two people they do not live with for around $3 per member. In the second new feature, Netflix subscribers with basic, standard, and premium plans can enable people who share their account to transfer profile information either to a new account or a “sub account.”
Long makes it clear in the news release that Netflix is testing these features in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru — not the United States.
“We’ll be working to understand the utility of these two features for members in these three countries before making changes anywhere else in the world,” Long wrote.
A Netflix spokesperson also told VERIFY that these tests would not be taking place in the U.S.
“We really want to see what learnings we can get from testing this in Chile, Peru, and Costa Rica first before we even consider going anywhere else, but we can affirmatively say that no, the U.S. is not in the plan,” the spokesperson said.
VERIFY independently checked whether Netflix is prompting users in the U.S. to pay extra fees when streaming on accounts outside their household and we were able to log in with no issues.