Though Netflix is well aware of password sharing among users, the streaming giant hasn’t really done much to stop it. However, a new feature currently being tested by the streamer suggests that the company may be finally gearing up to crack down on password sharing.
As first reported by The Streamable, Netflix has rolled out a pop-up message asking certain users to prove they are authorized to stream on the account to be able to keep watching.
When a user selects their profile on a shared Netflix account, the following message appears on the screen: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” Below that message is the question “Is this your account?” And in order to continue, the user needs to verify the account with an e-mail or text code or create a completely new account with a 30-day free trial. While the user can also choose to verify later, the pop-up message will show up again at an undetermined later time.
According to The Streamable, the new feature, as of the moment, is only being tested with users who watch on the Netflix TV app.
Though it’s clear that the new feature offers a way to stop password sharing among users, a spokesman for Netflix simply said that the “test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.”
According to the company’s terms of service, subscribers can only share their accounts with members of their respective households. However, it’s not clear if users need to be on the same IP address with the account owner for them to be considered living in the same household.
Netflix has not done anything to police that except by setting limits on simultaneous streaming. Netflix’s $8.99 basic plan allows streaming on a single device; its $13.99 standard plan offers streaming on up to 2 devices; while its $17.99 premium plan allows streaming on up to 4 devices. Interestingly, the streamer doesn’t limit users on the number of devices a single account can be logged into.
Though Netflix’s viewership has hit the roof during the pandemic ― reaching 200 million users last month, the streamer’s apparent effort to crack down on password sharing is probably part of its wider plan to keep up that momentum despite competition from a slew of new streamers, including Disney+, AT&T’s HBO Max, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, and ViacomCBS’s Paramount+.
If news of Netflix’s potential crackdown on password sharing makes you a little anxious, you can always use DoNotPay, a Google Chrome extension that lets you share your Netflix account with others without actually revealing your password.