Netflix tests feature to crack down on password sharing

Marielle Segarra Mar 12, 2021
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Some Netflix users are getting this message: "If you don't live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching." Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

Netflix tests feature to crack down on password sharing

Marielle Segarra Mar 12, 2021
Heard on:
Some Netflix users are getting this message: "If you don't live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching." Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images
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Netflix is testing out a feature that could be a way to crack down on people sharing their password with others. It’s not full policy yet, but the warnings are popping up.

Some Netflix users are getting this message: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”

That’s news to anyone who watches Netflix. The terms of service do say you’re not supposed to share your password with people outside your household, but the company has basically sanctioned password sharing by not cracking down on it all this time. And Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, has said it’s something the company has learned to live with.

With this test, the person watching is then asked to enter a verification code that’s sent to the account holder by email or text — although, right now, this really isn’t being enforced. People can skip that step and keep watching.

The question is will people accept this kind of change? Independent research shows that about one-third of streaming service users share their passwords. They’re used to it, and it’s hard to take a benefit away once people have had it for so long.

Also, there’s a lot of competition now from other streaming services. On the flip side, that is one of the reasons Netflix may be doing this: to boost subscriptions.

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