Netflix Is Getting Ready To Limit Password Sharing

Your mom, your cousin, and your neighbor might have to get their own Netflix accounts sooner, rather than later.

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Netflix password sharing is so common that there's a good chance you're not the one paying for the account you're using right now. Netflix knows you're doing it, though, and it wants you to stop, dangit. Netflix is now testing measures to limit password sharing, and some users are beginning to notice, according to a report from The Streamable.

The streaming giant is now prompting some people to sign up for a separate account if they're watching on a connection different from that of the subscriber, the site reports. The message says, "If you don't live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching."

Netflix has typically been quiet about the practice of password sharing. The company has data on every account, every profile, and every IP address that accesses its service, so they know what we're doing when we lend that password out. It's unclear how Netflix decides a given stream is unauthorized. The terms of service only disallow password sharing "with individuals beyond your household." Even a small family with two parents and a teenager can already include three mobile phones and a couple of laptops that might connect at home, work, and school. With viewers so mobile, it will be interesting to see whether Netflix can manage this without becoming overly draconian.

"This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement to The Streamable. The test apparently only applies right now to televisions that run on Roku software, and CNBC notes that Netflix tests "hundreds" of feature per year that never roll out to the broader public.

With that said, a 2018 study showed that around 35% of millennial-aged users share their streaming passwords, while as many as 42% of younger users are doing so. Netflix Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said in 2019 that the company is investigating ways to address the issue without "alienating a certain portion of [its] user base," and wants to find "consumer-friendly ways to push on the edges of that."

Your free Netflix access is safe for now, but its days may be numbered.

Eric Frederiksen on Google+

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