Netflix begins to test that cracks down on password sharing after the viewership skyrocketed during the pandemic.
The streaming giant is trying out a new policy with some customers, wherein a prompt asks certain people to sign up for a separate account if they aren’t watching with the subscriber.
The limited test is a form of two-factor authentication, the kind you hopefully already have on most of your online accounts.
“If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching,” the message reads, telling users to verify the account with an E-mail or Text Code, or create a new account with a 30-Day Free Trial in order to continue.
The move comes after Netflix experienced a sudden increase in its viewership during the pandemic, as it reached 200 million users last month.
“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” said a Netflix spokesperson through a statement, stressing that it is in the company’s policy not to share accounts with individuals “beyond your household.”
A source revealed that the company is in its very early stages of the trial and aims to verify who is using what accounts and to minimize the security issues inherent in unauthorized sharing.
According to a research firm Magid, about 33% of all Netflix users share their password with at least one other person.
“There seems to be a misunderstanding that sharing passwords with known individuals is not dangerous,” said cybersecurity specialist Jake Moore.
“The truth is that we shouldn’t be sharing passwords, and adding multi-factor authentication will help this process remain better protected.”
In the past, Netflix had not implemented any measure to stop password-sharing, as it continues to have a strong growth in subscriber numbers and its stock price offset any concerns about lost revenue.