Netflix Tests Feature to Crack Down on Password Sharing
If you share a Netflix account with your parents, or a sibling, or the uncle of a friend you roomed with in college, be aware: Those days could be numbered.
That’s because the streaming giant is testing a new feature that forces users to prove that they actually pay for the Netflix account they watch stuff on. Users selected for this test get a pop-up screen saying “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” They then have to prove it’s their account via a verification code sent over email or text message.
You can see what the message looks like below:
A Netflix spokesperson confirmed the new feature to CNN, saying in a statement that “this test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.” If you read the fine print on your Netflix account, it says that accounts “may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.” In practice, many people share their passwords to their family and beyond. (Not that I, uh, have ever, uh, done, uh, that.)
Until now, Netflix has rarely cracked down on the practice. In the past, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had said “password sharing is something you have to learn to live with, because there’s so much legitimate password sharing.” Now it seems as if the company’s stance has changed. And since it can cost at least $8.99 a month for a basic subscription, or up to $17.99 a month for a premium one that allows you to watch on four screens at once, that could be a costly decision for a lot of people.
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