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The Days of Netflix Ignoring Password Sharing May Be Over

Streaming service is testing out a new procedure
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2021 12:07 AM CST

(Newser) – Sharing a Netflix password with your sibling, cousin, parent, or friend? Those days may soon be over, or at least made slightly more awkward. Netflix is testing out a new feature in which, according to the Hollywood Reporter, some viewers who log in using another user's account get a warning message letting them know they need to sign up for their own account if they don't live with the person whose account they're using. The viewers are then prompted to verify they own the account by having a verification code texted to them. GammaWire, which was one of the first to report on the test feature, notes, "if you’re borrowing your ex’s account, good luck with that text asking for them to forward you the code." However, there is currently an option to select "verify later," which buys viewers some time on their friend's account, though it's not yet clear how much.

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Netflix has long looked the other way when it comes to password sharing, a common practice that, while it does violate the terms of service, is not illegal. (Research suggests a third of all Netflix subscribers do it.) But this could be a sign the company plans to crack down. Netflix confirmed the limited rollout, saying, "This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so." It also says, per CNBC, that it tests hundreds of features a year on select users. A source tells THR that Netflix is, at least in part, working to protect legitimate users from the security concerns that would arise should someone unauthorized be using their account without their permission. The Streamable, another one of the first sites to report on the test, notes that it's not clear whether Netflix is looking to see if streamers on the same account have the same IP address. (Read more Netflix stories.)

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