Netflix password sharing may become a thing of the past, if the latest feature the streaming giant is testing proves to be a success. A new feature, which is getting a limited rollout at this time, could signal the start of an effort to crack down on password sharing by the streamer, which lately has begun to shift its formerly passive stance on password policing.
According to reports from GammaWire and Streamable, Netflix is testing a new feature that could stop viewers from using somebody else’s account.
Upon login, some Netflix viewers are seeing the following message: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” To continue watching content, they have to first verify the account they’re using with a code sent to the email address or phone of the user. If they aren’t able to verify the account or opt to “verify later,” they are prompted to create their own account with a 30-day free trial.
Netflix confirmed the new feature, which is still in limited rollout. “This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” a Netflix spokesperson said.
Netflix does not clarify how they determine who is in the same household, or if a shared IP address counts as being in the same household. According to Streamable, the test is only currently showing up on connected TV devices, not on laptops or phones. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the rollout of the test version of this feature varies from country to country and that they’re intended “to help protect subscribers from security concerns that can arise from unauthorized use of their account.”
Netflix states in its terms and conditions that accounts are “for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household,” but it’s held a somewhat lackadaisical attitude towards password sharing in the past, with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings declaring in 2016, “Password sharing is something you have to learn to live with because there’s so much legitimate password sharing – like you sharing with your spouse, with your kids …. so there’s no bright line, and we’re doing fine as is.”
However, back in 2019, Netflix Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said the company was looking to limit password sharing among its customers, Newsweek reported. “We continue to monitor it, so we’re looking at the situation,” he said at the time, but admitted Netflix had “no big plans to announce…in terms of doing something differently there.”
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