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Netflix gives account holders the ability to kick freeloaders

The new "Manage Access and Devices" panel in Netflix's user settings on desktop web.
Enlarge / The new “Manage Access and Devices” panel in Netflix’s user settings on desktop web.


Netflix has introduced a new account management page called “Manage Access and Devices” that gives users the ability to remove access privileges from specific devices. The feature is available on the web and in the streaming service’s Android and iOS apps.

Previously, users could see a list of devices that had recently accessed their accounts, and they could revoke access to all devices simultaneously, but they could not revoke access on a case-by-case basis.

Each item in the list of devices will include an IP address-based location, a device type, and the user profile that most recently accessed Netflix from that device.

The company announced the feature via its blog on Wednesday, and some of the media takes on it have focused mainly on its role in helping Netflix battle the effect of consensual password sharing on its bottom line. The feature is rolling out not long before Netflix plans to begin charging extra fees to accounts with sub-accounts that are primarily used to access the service outside of the core household.

While the new Manage Access and Devices page could be used that way—say, to boot an ex’s laptop off your account after a break-up or to remind off-to-college adult kids to pony up for their own accounts—this isn’t just about password sharing.

Netflix describes it as a security feature, in that it’s useful to users who don’t share their passwords at all. For example, you now have a way to clean up after yourself if you stayed at an Airbnb and signed into your Netflix account on the smart TV there but forgot to sign out before you left. Further, the page could help you identify if someone has gained access to your account via a compromised password.

With the busy holiday season just around the corner, many of our members will be on the move and watching Netflix wherever they are traveling to see family and friends. Logging in to your account while at a hotel or even your friend’s house is easy and intuitive, but occasionally people forget to log out,” Netflix’s Charles Wartemberg writes in the blog post.

Regardless of how or why you plan to use it, it’s available to all Netflix users now.

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