Netflix password sharing crackdown – account misuse testing underway

March 17, 2021 | 2 minutes read

Netflix is running password-sharing crackdown tests on selected customers to restrict account misuse.

In the past few days, some users have reported seeing the following message on their Netflix screens: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”

The company prompts for the code sent to the registered user’s email address or phone to reactivate usage. This practice is generally known as multi-factor authentication. According to BBC, the spokesperson of Netflix confirmed that this test is designed to strengthen authorization and access control mechanisms. 

“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.” source: BBC

However, a decision has yet to be made as to whether the company will implement the crackdown globally across its network. These tests may also be used for enhancing the security of user accounts. This is not the first time that Netflix tests cracking password sharing. The company claims to conduct various tests for better usability and customer experience. 

Source: CardMapr, Unsplash

Netflix Password-sharing Strategy in the Past

Netflix global terms and conditions clearly state that the account credentials can only be shared within the household. The users can watch a maximum number of four screens at the same time for the premium account. Netflix has allowed password sharing without any strict control in the past. This is the reason why one-third of its users share passwords. 

Netflix co-founder and chief executive Reed Hastings said during 2016 webcast:

“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.”

It seems Netflix is planning to have a stricter stance in account credential sharing now. It is interesting to know that Netflix users have grown immensely amid the pandemic, with more than 200 million subscribers, beating all other competitors by far. Just in the US and Canada, the Netflix platform has achieved 860,000 new subscribers, totaling 73.9 million users (source: CNET). The online streaming giant has also achieved a significant rise in its share value.