Netflix is Trying a New Tactic in Preventing Password Sharing

A Netflix subscriber shared a screenshot on Twitter, showing that the streaming service is making a move to crack down on password sharing. The message asks the user if they live in the same household as the account owner, with a prompt to enter a code delivered via text or email.

Screenshot: Twitter user @DOP3Sweet

The Streamable was first to confirm with Netflix that the message is real. “This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” a spokesperson told the website.

Password sharing has always been an issue for Netflix. In October 2019, Netflix execs shared during a quarterly earnings call that they were monitoring password sharing and looking at “consumer-friendly” ways of preventing it. While asking for a verification code seems like a consumer-friendly way to crack down on the problem while also offering a level of security for an account, Netflix has also commented that it performs hundreds of tests among users, so there is no guarantee that these messages will be put into effect permanently for all users.

A number of studies on password sharing have shown that as many as 50% of Netflix subscribers are sharing their password with someone outside of their home. The Netflix Terms of Use specifically prohibit password sharing, saying “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.”