While the ability to share accounts across multiple households has long been an accepted reality for Netflix, the streaming giant has recently started trialing a system to prevent people from getting this kind of free ride.
As spotted by GammaWire, a number of Netflix users have received warnings that state “if you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching”, along with the offer to start their own account with a free 30-day trial.
In order to verify it was indeed their account (or, you know, someone else who they’re in touch with) these users were offered to have a verification code sent to the account holder’s email address or phone number via text.
For those that are truly parasitic and using another’s account without their knowledge, this would obviously pose some problems. But for (presumably) the large majority of cases, where the sharing is known about, this hurdle should only present the minor inconvenience of getting in touch with the account holder.
Back in 2016, Netflix not only stated that it knew about the act of account sharing, but also endorsed it, presenting it as a net positive for the company, which assumed that any leechers would eventually get their own account. With the streaming giant’s latest actions, it seems that ‘eventually’ is now.
The intent of this messaging has been confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter, with a spokesperson for Netflix telling the outlet that “This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” and also referring to the inherent security concerns of sharing passwords.
It is currently in the trial phase, and according to the spokesperson, is in effect in different degrees in various regions, so as yet, there’s no guarantee that the restrictions will roll out on a more global basis.