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Netflix is rolling out a new policy in Canada limiting how users can share accounts with people they don't live with

If you’ve received an ominous e-mail this week with the subject line, “Netflix is for a single household,” you’re not alone.

The streaming giant started rolling out a promised new policy in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain this week, sending e-mails to users outlining new limits on how accounts can be accessed by users who don’t live together.

Some Netflix plans have been updated with the ability to add member slots for users who don’t live in the same house for an extra $7.99 a month. Under the new model, standard users can pay for one extra slot, and premium users can pay for two. Basic plans are not able to add additional members outside of their households.

In the e-mail, Netflix users were asked to set their primary location by Feb. 21 by logging in on a TV that is connected to their home Wi-Fi. Netflix says that users who don’t have a TV don’t need to set a primary location, but the company may automatically set it by using their IP address, device IDs and account activity.

Netflix also says users will still be able to stream while travelling with their personal devices, or TVs at hotels or rentals.

The premium plan, which allows users to watch on up to four devices at once, often has been used by friends and family members who wished to share one account. Under the new rules, Netflix expects all users to either live in the same household or pay the extra member fee.

This latest pricing model comes a few months after Netflix added a new, cheaper ad-supported subscription tier in Canada and 11 other countries.

In response to the new policy, many Netflix users have joined in on a chorus of discontentment and criticism on social media –with some discussing their plans to cancel the service.

Last week, Netflix released a set of rules about verifying devices outside of a user’s primary household, which have since been removed from its help centre. It’s not clear whether users will still be able to verify devices they regularly use outside of their main households.

Over the past year, the streaming service has been testing the pay-per-user model in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru, where all devices associated with an account were asked to connect to the primary household’s Wi-Fi at least once a month.

The plan to roll out anti-password sharing features internationally comes as Netflix tries to maintain its share of an increasingly crowded market where competitors, such as Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, seize growing shares of audiences.

The company, which has 230 million subscribers globally, said last year that more than 100 million households were sharing accounts.

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