Should You Delete Your Netflix History?

reasons delete netflix history how to preserve privacy

There are plenty of reasons to want to wipe your Netflix viewing history clean. For some, our time on the streaming platform is part of a more comprehensive self-care ritual of watching reality TV shows to unwind after a long day. For others who might be sharing their account with friends and family, deleting your Netflix watch history is a matter of privacy. 

More than ever, Netflix users are aware of the type of information the American streaming company has on them. It is often noted that Netflix automatically collects information surrounding watch history and search terms. However, users might not know that the company also collects information about its user's behavior, like time spent watching specific series or films, to improve their algorithm and recommendations. 

Every type of data point, from location data, and where its users have paused or stopped in a series, is collected so that Netflix can paint a better picture of its users. Knowing this, many have opted to delete their Netflix history to prevent being tracked further and maintain some level of privacy. 

Why Is Netflix Collecting Your Data? 

For years, Netflix has avoided serving advertisements on its platform—despite being urged on by investors. Instead, the platform relies on the vast amount of information it collects from users to stay ahead of the competition and create content that could help retain customers. This innate need to understand its customers has undoubtedly served Netflix well—the streaming giant is perhaps the most famous streaming company worldwide entering 2024. 

Netflix and other streaming services know that user engagement, experience, and acquisition are the top metrics for measuring video product performance. Hulu, Disney Plus, YouTube, Paramount, Apple, and Peacock all do the same to optimize their content and that of their advertisors.

In a change of events, though, Netflix announced that it is introducing a more affordable ad-supported subscription plan in early 2023. According to media analysts, Netflix could stand to reap about USD 1 billion annually with the introduction of this plan going forward. Netflix’s most popular plan at the moment will remain ad-free at a steeper price of about $16 a month on average, with much less account sharing now. 

Given that multiple economies worldwide are heading towards a recession, many people are looking at ways to save, so this move came at an opportune time. 

Should You Be Concerned? 

With its new ad-supported subscription, Netflix will likely be selling a portion—if not all—of its user’s data to help advertisers target consumers better. While Netflix selling information about streaming habits and the demographics of its users may not sound like much of a big deal, several concerning issues to consider are who this information is being sold to, how it is being used, and how contact information is being handled. At some point, consumers will also begin to question how long such data will be kept and at what point will their information stop being sold. 

As it stands, Netflix isn’t new to privacy violation issues. In September 2021, the South Korean government fined the streaming provider USD 188,000 for collecting personal information on about five million people without obtaining proper consent. The government also issued a USD 2,700 fine to the company for failing to disclose the international transfer of such data. But these are just small slaps on the wrist and the costs of doing business for a streamer that makes billions of dollars.

If it wants its new plan to succeed amid consumers who are more concerned about their privacy given the current climate, Netflix will need to handle the entire launch with care. 

While deleting your Netflix viewing history will help reset the algorithm going forward, reset recommendations, and remove any evidence of your recent Selling Sunset binge, Netflix has likely collected all the information it needs to understand your likes and dislikes as a consumer. Plus, signing up for an account and inputting credit card information has already informed them of your location and the type of device you are using. 

How To Help Preserve Privacy

If you are truly concerned about the type of data Netflix collects, do yourself one better and consider creating an account with a VPN and a virtual credit card that isn’t linked to the country you are actually in. While you are at it, avoid using your real name and including other vital information, this way Netflix doesn’t have actual data that can be linked back to you. You might also want to create this account with a burner email address. All of your personal information isn't for Netflix to know, so do what you can to keep it out of their grasp.


With this method, Netflix might still have information about your viewing habits but not any actual sensitive information about you. Unfortunately your smart TV, computer, and internet provider might all be collecting your information as well, so keep that in mind as you try and take back your privacy the best you can.

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