On February 9 2023, the top post on Reddit’s r/all (originally on r/mildlyinfuriating) included a photograph of a Netflix password sharing warning purportedly observed in Canada:
The image in the post (with the caption “Netflix rolled out their Bullshit in Canada”) showed a television screen displaying a warning. It appeared to be the first of two or more related screens, and it instructed the viewer:
A Netflix account is for people who live in the same location
Everyone who lives at your primary location can use Netflix when they’re on the go or traveling.
If this is your account, we’ll help you set your primary location on the next screen. [Continue]
Reddit u/apersonthingy submitted the image, and did not include the subsequent screen. That account did not describe the next screen or screens, indicating in a comment that they had subsequently elected not to watch Netflix after seeing the warning.
On the popular thread, the most upvoted comment quoted Netflix in 2017 as saying “Love is sharing a password.” In March 2022, rumors about Netflix “cracking down” on password sharing caused a 2017 Netflix tweet to recirculate — the source of the quote:
As of February 9 2023, the tweet remained live and hadn’t been deleted by Netflix:
The Reddit post’s title specified the screen appeared on Netflix in Canada. On February 8 2023, Netflix published brief statements to Twitter and Facebook, acknowledging the warning and social media interest:
On Facebook, the statement appeared in one post:
We know there’s been a lot of confusion about sharing Netflix.
A Netflix account is intended for one household, so we’re rolling out new features in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain (and more broadly in the coming months) to give you more control over your account — and yes, you can still watch Netflix while traveling!
Both posts linked to a February 8 2023 news release on Netflix’s website, “An Update on Sharing.” It was tagged “Global,” “Canada,” “Portugal,” “Spain,” and “New Zealand,” and it read:
We’ve always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account with features like profiles and multiple streams. While these have been hugely popular, they’ve also created confusion about when and how you can share Netflix. Today, over 100 million households are sharing accounts — impacting our ability to invest in great new TV and films.
So over the last year, we’ve been exploring different approaches to address this issue in Latin America, and we’re now ready to roll them out more broadly in the coming months, starting today in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain. Our focus has been on giving members greater control over who can access their account.
- Set primary location: We’ll help members set this up, ensuring that anyone who lives in their household can use their Netflix account.
- Manage account access and devices: Members can now easily manage who has access to their account from our new Manage Access and Devices page.
- Transfer profile: People using an account can now easily transfer a profile to a new account, which they pay for — keeping their personalized recommendations, viewing history, My List, saved games and more.
- Watch while you travel: Members can still easily watch Netflix on their personal devices or log into a new TV, like at a hotel or holiday rental.
- Buy an extra member: Members on our Standard or Premium plan in many countries (including Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain) can add an extra member sub account for up to two people they don’t live with — each with a profile, personalized recommendations, login and password — for an extra CAD$7.99 a month per person in Canada, NZD$7.99 in New Zealand, Euro 3.99 in Portugal, and Euro 5.99 in Spain.
We value our members and recognize that they have many entertainment choices. A Netflix account is intended for one household and members can choose from a range of plans with different features (see chart below). As always, we’ll refine these new features based on member feedback so that we continue to improve Netflix in the years ahead.
Netflix’s social media posts suggested the news release addressed social media “confusion” about what restrictions Netflix planned to impose on password sharing. But the linked statement framed the restrictions as if they were new and useful features — such as one advising users to “transfer [their] profiles” to a separate paid account.
A popular February 8 2023 Reddit post was titled “Netflix rolled out their Bullshit in Canada,” and it depicted a Netflix warning screen directing the viewer to set their “primary location” on the subsequent screen. On the same day, Netflix confirmed that it had introduced password sharing restrictions in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain, but did not disclose very much about how the restrictions actually functioned.