Watching Netflix using someone else’s password? You might need to verify the account soon

If you are someone who watches Netflix using someone else’s password, then a new feature that the streaming website is currently testing will likely affect you. A new notification that asks users to verify their Netflix account using an email code or text code is showing for some users, first spotted by GammaWire.

Netflix has confirmed the test in a statement to The Verge. “This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.”

Interestingly, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in 2016 (via CNET) that Netflix account information sharing was a positive thing. “We love people sharing Netflix whether they’re two people on a couch or 10 people on a couch. That’s a positive thing, not a negative thing,” Hastings said.

The crackdown on password sharing comes as Netflix looks to grow more paid members throughout 2021. In its 2020 Q4 earnings report, the company announced that it surpassed 200 million paid users worldwide. However, it admitted that the company anticipates “some lumpiness” where some years it will “be a little over (like in 2020), some years a little under (like in 2021)”.

Netflix crackdown on password sharing

Netflix will ask users to verify their account in case it detects that it is not being used by the owner. As per a screenshot, Netflix is showing users a page that reads, “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” Netflix will then send a verification code to the registered email id or phone number, which users will need to enter to continue using the account.

Those who won’t be able to verify their accounts will be prompted to create their own account.

As of now, users are also getting an option to verify later but it remains to be seen if this will still be available when the feature is rolled out for everyone. According to GammaWire, the feature is currently being tested with a relatively small number of users. There is no clarity on when it will be rolled out officially.

It is not uncommon to share passwords of streaming services among family and friends. However, it looks like Netflix is trying to prevent this practice, which will also address security concerns. For instance, the feature will stop those from logging in to someone else’s account, who by any fraudulent means might have gain access to their account password.

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