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Netflix tests new feature to limit password sharing

By Kara Santos Published Mar 12, 2021 12:44 am

For those who love to Netflix and chill, but don’t necessarily have their own account at home, listen up. 

If you’re using an account from another household that you don’t pay for, also known as password sharing, you could be hearing from Netflix soon.

The streaming giant is testing out a feature that asks viewers to verify that they share a household with the account holder, the company said on Thursday (Mar. 11). This test could possibly lead to a crackdown on sharing of passwords.

As spotted by Gammawire, a small number of Netflix users are receiving message prompts asking them to confirm they live with the account owner by entering details from a text message or email sent to the owner.

While viewers can delay the verification and keep watching Netflix, the message may reappear when they open Netflix again, and eventually they could be required to open a new account and continue streaming.

The message reads: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”

It also encourages users to try the streaming service free for 30 days.

So, if you’re still leeching off on your ex’s account months after you've broken up, or are borrowing your friend's father's account, good luck with asking for them to forward you the verification code.

According to Netflix: "This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so."

It is possible to get locked out of a Netflix account because an unauthorized user gains access and then changes the password.

From a business standpoint, it’s clear that password sharing deals a big blow to streaming services in terms of number of subscribers, including Netflix.

While members of one household can watch on the streaming platform across devices, a common practice is for friends and family living in different households to share the subscription service, which could lead to potential abuse. 

The streamer has historically looked the other way when it comes to extended account sharing, which is considered a gray area in streaming, as most who initially borrow someone's else’s Netflix account or try the service for free often go on to become paying subscribers themselves.

While it appears that Netflix is starting to do something about password sharing, it still remains unclear how the new policy will be rolled out and if it will take effect globally. 

(Images via Netflix)