According to FTC complaint, MoviePass went to hilarious lengths to stop you from using MoviePass

·3 min read
The MoviePass party house
The MoviePass party house

The brief window when MoviePass was good was truly beautiful, a real “Candle In The Wind”-worthy run, but the much larger window when it was not good just gets worse and worse as time goes by. It’s less “Candle In The Wind” and more “something died in the crawlspace and nobody wants to get in there and clean it out.” Our latest reminder of the bad old days comes from Mashable, which wrote up a new press release from the Federal Trade Commission about a complaint filed against the raccoon skeleton that used to be MoviePass. The press release includes a number of nefarious schemes reportedly employed by the service—which, for anyone who wasn’t lucky enough to see the “Candle In The Wind” days, originally allowed users to see an infinite number of movies in theaters for a flat fee—that all involved making it more difficult for people to actually use MoviePass.

Not all of these are entirely new to those of us who have followed the MoviePass saga closely, but they do paint a chilling picture beyond the ritzy mountainside party villas and MoviePass-branded pillows. For one thing, we heard back in 2019 that MoviePass had purposefully invalidated the passwords of some “power users” to stop them from seeing too many movies and that it had instituted secret “trip wires” that would effectively shut down everyone’s access to the service once a certain number of tickets had been bought to keep the company from bleeding the cash (or at least bleeding through more cash than it did on any other day).

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According to the FTC complaint, though, the password thing may have happened to as many as 75,000 users, and Mashable says “many” of them were fully locked out of their accounts because even the MoviePass password reset system was a disaster. Basically, MoviePass’ definition of a “power user” who was using the service too much applied to nearly 100,000 of them, but that’s also not totally accurate because MoviePass believed that every user was using the service too much.

That’s all on top of the MoviePass data breach, which was confirmed back in 2019 after the company had allegedly known about a database of stolen information for a few months. The FTC complaint says MoviePass stored personal information “including financial information and email addresses” in plain text (meaning it would be readable by anyone with access). Oh, also, it “failed to impose restrictions on who could access personal data,” meaning anyone could’ve found it and anyone could’ve read it once they found it.

To make matters worse, that mysterious MoviePass countdown from earlier this year was part of a cruel prank! That has nothing to do with the FTC, and it means we most likely dodged a bullet, but damn. It’s getting harder and harder to remember the good times. Remember when we all saw Avengers: Infinity War? Remember how desperately MoviePass pushed American Animals, a movie they could’ve just made up and nobody would’ve ever known the difference? Your candle burned out long before your legend ever did….