Is Netflix Party safe? Here’s all you need to know

With social distancing and lockdown restrictions going on all across the world, we’re all experiencing more time indoors than we might ever have. You can no longer go to theaters, restaurants, bars, and cinemas to spend quality time with your loved ones, which for most of us would amount to their entire social activity.

Thankfully, there’s plenty of stuff to kill time, including playing online games, mobile games, having a drinking game party over Zoom, and a lot more.

While you can always rely on Netflix and other streaming services for spending time leisurely on your own, it wouldn’t hurt to do the same with the bunch of friends and loved ones you usually do it with, would it?

Netflix Party, a Google Chrome extension to help you watch TV shows and movies on Netflix together with your friends and also discuss it with them like you would at a cinema hall or a night out.

Although many publications have touted the service as a savior amid COVID-19’s impact, there are still some unanswered questions regarding the newly-popular Chrome extension and whether it is safe to use with your Netflix account.

In this post, we’ll discuss what makes Netflix Party unsafe and things you should consider if you do decide to give it a go.

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Netflix Party isn’t officially related to Netflix

Netflix Party is not officially a Netflix product, meaning Netflix is neither the creator nor does it endorse the use of Netflix Party. The service can be only used via Google Chrome and the fact that it is a third-party add-on to Netflix makes it less reliable. Moreover, Chrome extensions are known to be a major means to employ malicious code on systems and if you do wish to use Netflix Party, you’re doing it at your own risk.

Ensure that your Netflix Party link stays within your friends’ circle

When you create a Netflix Party, you get a shareable link that others can use to join the party and watch shows and movies on Netflix together. Since anyone with your Netflix Party link can join, it’s important that the shareable link stays within your friends’ circle and doesn’t reach the hands of strangers or potential cybercriminals.

Some users got redirected to mysterious WikiLeaks videos

Both a Twitter user and Vice have reported that during their Netflix Party sessions, their currently playing titles were replaced with DailyMotion videos showing random Wikileaks footage and urged viewers to appeal the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. If your children are using Netflix Party to watch shows and movies with their friends, you might want to reconsider since some of these WikiLeaks videos would not be appropriate for their age.

Some party groups are being invaded and threatened

In the same post mentioned above, Vice reports that several people experienced that strangers were able to interrupt their watching sessions when using Netflix Party. According to the report, one user noticed that an uninvited member had joined the session referring themselves as a character from the current movie and began sending threatening texts using Netflix Party’s chat feature.

Netflix Party doesn’t abide to Do Not Track feature

Modern web browsers come with a “Do not track” feature that prevents sharing browsing data and disables trackers when a user is on the internet. Netflix Party says that since there’s “no accepted standard for responding to Do Not Track signals”, it doesn’t to a browser’s DNT feature, meaning it still employs trackers that scan your browsing habits and serve you with targeted ads that will be relevant to you.

Make sure your child is over 13 years of age

Netflix Party’s Privacy Policy mentions that the service is designed for children over 13 years of age. You might be able to supervise what your kid watches on Netflix through Netflix’s parental controls, but the fact remains that anyone with a link can join the party group.

Another thing to note is that any member in a Netflix Party will be able to share external links that could leave your child exposed to unsupervised content even if you know other members in the Netflix Party group.

Netflix Party can access and use your info and location as it deems necessary

Netflix Party’s latest privacy policy still acknowledges that the service collects information regarding the “use of the Service”. This information can also include your location, “unique identifiers”, and automatically generated information like your preferences and usage statistics. This means Netflix Party will be able to recognize the features you accessed that could also include the titles that you watched and the place you watched it from.

Although we’re used to sharing information with major organizations like Google, would you want this third-party service to do that as well? We don’t think so.

Netflix Party might share your info with vendors, service providers, and law enforcement

Another detail we noticed from the service’s privacy policy is that Netflix Party will not only use your info and location but also share them with vendors and service providers including their payment processors and auditors.

The service has mentioned that they may disclose user data law enforcements as they comply with requests like court orders or subpoenas. It’s not necessarily bad because many services are required to do so, but you may want to keep that in mind.

You can watch Netflix together on Zoom with your SO or friends to be in total control who has access to your stream. Plus, while Netflix Party requires all participants to have the Netflix account, only one person sharing the screen needs to have access to Netflix.

Would you still use Netflix Party with your friends and family after reading this post? Have you encountered a problem that we have failed to mentioned here while using Netflix Party? Let us know in the comments below. 

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