Netflix cracks down on password sharing with new feature

Company’s CEO Reed Hastings has previously said it is a ‘positive’ thing for the streaming giant

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Friday 12 March 2021 18:42 GMT
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Netflix is testing a new log-in warning that could see the streaming giant crack down on users sharing passwords.

The company has started showing some users the warning in the last week to prevent unauthorised password sharing, it has confirmed.

“If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching,” the warning states according to GammaWire.

Netflix says the new feature is so far getting a limited rollout.

“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorised to do so,” a Netflix spokesperson said.

Once the warning is displayed the viewer is given the option of verifying their identity through an email or text to the account’s owner, or “verify later,” which gives them an unspecified amount of time to do so.

Netflix’s terms of service states that a customer’s account for the streaming service “may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.”

It would be the first major move against password sharing taken by Netflix, which has not previously tried to prevent it.

Read more: The best TV shows on Amazon Prime and Netflix right now

“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.” said Netflix CEOReed Hastings in 2016.

And he added: “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.”

The test is being run in multiple countries and only on TVs.

Netflix has more than 203 million account holders worldwide, but nearly 40 per cent of Americans say they use a streaming service with a login and password that does not belong them.

And 72 per cent of people in a February LendingTree poll said they let someone else use their account.

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