Netflix Wants Everyone to Just Relax

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Netflix has always taken a relaxed position on people sharing passwords. It was sort of an unwritten rule that while the company didn't outright condone it, it was fine with the fact that kids went off to college and still used mom or dad's account. It was one of the things that made Netflix so well-liked and popular.

Then, in March, Netflix started testing a feature that would display a message if you tried using an account outside of the owner's home. As reported at the time by The Streamable, Netflix would tell users "If you don't live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching." Netflix will then prompt you to enter a code sent to the account owner via email or text, similar to two-factor authentication.

That, as you can imagine, didn't go over really well. It felt like Netflix was getting ready to crack down on something it had allowed for years. In fact, research from Magid shows that as many as a third of all Netflix users share their account passwords. That's a lot of password sharing considering the streaming service had just over 200 million subscribers at the start of the year.

Now, however, Netflix has clarified its position. More specifically, its top executives were asked during an analyst call on Tuesday whether this amounted to "turning the screws" on people who were freeloading on someone else's account.

"We will test many things, but we would never roll something out that feels like turning the screws," Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings said during the conference call.

I suppose that's good news if you happen to be one of the people who still binge-watches Stranger Things on your old roommate's Netflix account. More importantly, however, Hastings's response is a great example of emotional intelligence for two reasons.

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