A popup message from Netflix trying to crackdown on password sharing.

@DOP3Sweet/Twitter

Netflix prompt freaks users into believing the great password-sharing purge has begun

'If you don't live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.'

 

Andrew Wyrich

Tech

Published Mar 12, 2021   Updated Mar 12, 2021, 10:04 am CST

It looks like Netflix is starting to care about how many people you’ve shared your password with.

Netflix password sharing is a near-ubiquitous practice, with friends and families doing it to get access from a single account and save money. For the most part, the streaming giant hasn’t seemed to care much about it, despite there being language in its terms of service prohibiting sharing a password outside of your “household.”

But it looks like Netflix might start cracking down on sharing.

Numerous Netflix users have begun seeing a popup message that says “if you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”

The message continues with an option for people to have a verification code sent to their email or through a text message to show that they own the account. There’s also an option to verify later.

If you aren’t the account holder, the message prompts you to “Start your own Netflix for free today” with an option for a 30-day free trial.

The popups were first reported by the Streamable and Gammawire.

Netflix, in a statement to CNBC, said that the popup message was a test, and meant to “ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” perhaps as a way to curtail people using an account that a user forgot had a password.

But the wording of the prompt—”if you don’t live with the owner of the account”—made people think Netflix may begin cracking down on password sharing.

It does appear that someone who is using a password—perhaps a family member or friend—could simply ask the account holder to send them the verification code.

In 2019, Netflix executives said they would monitor password sharing. Perhaps users are now seeing the beginning of that.

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*First Published: Mar 12, 2021, 9:01 am CST