If you’ve been sharing your Netflix account with people outside of your household, you may be in for a surprise as Netflix appears to have begun cracking down on password sharing.

As reported by outlets like GammaWire, Hollywood Reporter, and The Verge, some Netflix users have spotted a notification stating that if they don’t live with the owner of the account they’ll need to create their own account. 

The notification then instructs recipients to either create a new account with a free trial period of 30 days or to verify account access. There’s also a “verify later” option that seems to have worked for those who selected it instead of the other options according to GammaWire

As mild as this notification and verification process seems to be, some are concerned that Netflix may take harsher actions to curb password sharing in the future. 

Netflix Fighting Back Against Password Sharing

 
Image Source: GammaWire

Password sharing on streaming services like Netflix is common, and Netflix has been aware of this for quite some time now. While it was largely ignored in the past, a shift seems to be occurring at Netflix as they’ve begun to take action to try and discourage users from password sharing and encourage them to create their own account instead.

For those unfamiliar with “password sharing” is in relation to streaming services like Netflix, let’s say you have a friend that lives a few states away and you want them to check out a show or movie that’s only on Netflix.

If they don’t want to set up their own account, even with a free trial in place, you may opt to create a password that’s safe to share with them and give them access to your Netflix subscription. This could be a temporary thing, or something that becomes permanent depending on how you feel about sharing your account with someone you know and trust. 

As you could imagine, Netflix isn’t exactly keen on the idea of people being given an option to access their subscription service without paying for an actual subscription. In reports from sites like GammaWire, Netflix is rolling out a notification as a way to try and discourage password sharing. 

The notification (as seen in the image above) reads: 

“Start your own Netflix for free today

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

A button appears below this with  “Join Free for 30 Days” written on it. Beneath this is a separate section that asks, “Is this your account? We’ll send you a verification code.” 

Three options are provided for account verification which include a code sent to you via text or email, or an option to verify later. It’s unclear what the consequences are of continuing to press “verify later” or messaging the account owner and having them send the code over to you. 

In a statement made to The Streamable, a spokesperson from Netflix confirmed the notification test as being authentic:

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

Based on the way the notification reads, it seems like Netflix is looking at IP addresses connected to an account in order to determine whether password sharing is happening or not.

This is likely why users are getting a notification and an option to verify rather than being locked out of an account. As long as you can verify you are who you say you are, it sounds like you have nothing to worry about.

In addition, a number of Netflix subscribers have actually inquired about two-factor authentication in the past as the service doesn’t really have much of one in place. 

Without two-factor authentication, there’s a concern about hackers gaining access to a Netflix account and the information attached to it. Given that hackers would have a different IP address than the original account owner’s, the new notification sent out by Netflix could serve as a form of indirect two-factor authentication. 

Of course, there’s the option to “verify later” in place right now that may not do much in the way of blocking unauthorized login attempts.

As of right now, it’s a game of waiting and seeing what Netflix does with this new notification system as they test the waters with it. The final takeaway here is that Netflix subscribers who share their account with people outside their household may experience the inconvenience of having to provide a verification code to that person every time they try and log in. 

Netflix may also take further action against subscribers who partake in password sharing in the future. Meanwhile, hackers who try and access an account may still be able to do so with the “verify later” button available through the new notification. 

If that option is removed, the notification could serve as a way to better protect accounts against unauthorized access utilizing two-factor authentication methods.

After hearing about Netflix’s actions to try and curtail password sharing, and the way in which the notification could be used as a form of two-factor authentication, we’re curious to hear your thoughts.

Is the notification something you find annoying, or is it a non-issue? Let us know on our social media channels including Facebook and Twitter, and stay tuned for more Netflix news in the future here at Prima!