Netflix has begun testing a verification feature that would make it more difficult for friends and other associates who live outside of a subscriber’s household to leverage their accounts. The password crackdown by the world’s largest streamer was first reported by GammaWire and The Streamable, which confirmed that the security measure comprises a pop-up warning users that they need their own subscription if they don’t live with the owner of the account. A verification code that’s sent via email or text message is then required to continue watching.
“We’ve heard the test right now is only on TV devices,” The Streamable reported. “A Netflix spokesperson told The Streamable, ‘This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.’ It isn’t clear if users in the test all need to be on the same IP address to be considered in the same household.”
“According to Netflix terms, an account can only be shared with members of your household: ‘The Netflix service and any content viewed through our service are for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.'”
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings actually told a CES crowd years ago that sharing Netflix account information was a “a positive thing,” but the company has clearly begun changing its tune to further grow its enormous subscription base. Chief Product Officer Greg Peters made this pretty clear in 2019 when he revealed that Netflix was looking into password sharing.
“I think we continue to monitor it,” Peters said during an earnings call. “We’ll see those consumer-friendly ways to push on the edges of that, but I think we’ve got no big plans to announce at this point in time in terms of doing something differently there.”