Despite its previous stance on Netflix login sharing, the streaming service is currently testing out a new way to quash password sharing with friends and family by rolling out a warning message telling users that if they don't live in the same household as the account owner, they need to create their own account.
Netflix terms of service does stipulate that account info "may not be shared with individuals beyond your household," but the reality of the situation for a lot of users doesn't adhere to this. Netflix is well aware of that, with the company's co-founder and co-chief executive speaking candidly about usage back in 2016, saying:
"Password sharing is something you have to learn to live with because there’s so much legitimate password sharing, like you sharing with your spouse, with your kids. So there’s no bright line, and we’re doing fine as is."
But the message that's been popping up for some users in this 'test' looks to be trying to nip Netflix password sharing in the bud and get everyone in line with the actual terms of service.
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O no. Netflix doing the purge?!? pic.twitter.com/XXlHtfgfsyMarch 9, 2021
The pop up was shared (opens in new tab) on social media, and the streaming giant has since confirmed to the BBC that the test "is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorised to do so."
The prompt gives users the option to verify that they are indeed allowed to use the account, with an email or text verification code, which can be put off for a bit if you hit the 'verify later' option.
Netflix accounts across regions are seeing the test rollout, and according to Yahoo Finance (opens in new tab), it's only popping on TVs, and not other devices like tablets, smartphones, or laptops.
As it stands, Netflix users can subscribe for a Basic, Standard, or Premium plan, which supports streaming on one, two, and four devices respectively, at the same time. Any more than that will pretty much resolve itself when the account owner discovers they can't log in because they were too generous with the password, and change it to a new one in a fit of rage. It's a delicate balance that is prevented from getting out of hand thanks to scenarios like this, but we'll have to wait and see if Netflix is planning to tackle the issue with its own, more official, methods.