Your Days of Being a Netflix Leech Are Over

Your Days of Being a Netflix Leech Are Over
Screenshot: Lifehacker AU

It looks like the days of leeching off your family’s Netflix account could be over. The streamer seems to be rolling out a trial of a verification system that could put an end to password sharing.

Earlier today some users noticed a pop-up notification when trying to access their Netflix accounts. The screen read, “if you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”

The pop-up screen asks users to verify their account via an email or text code. If this can’t be done there’s a prompt to start a new Netflix account.

Uh oh.

Looks like Netflix is getting sick of the old ten-people-sharing-one-account trick. On the plus side, you can now kick all the leeches off your account. Withholding a Netflix password is a God-like power, after all.

While this does seem to be an attempt by Netflix to crack down on shared accounts, it’s more likely being introduced to increase account security. Without two-step verification, it’s quite easy for a hacker to take over your account if they crack your password.

A Netflix spokesperson told The Verge that “this test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.”

Theoretically, there are still ways to get around this. Such as asking your mate to send you the verification code whenever you need to log in. But it still may deter people from sharing their account so freely.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has spoken about password sharing in the past, saying it’s “something you have to learn to live with” and that there’s “no bright line.” Although that was nearly five years ago so it seems Netflix may be rethinking this scenario.

Spotify rolled out a similar verification feature for its Premium family accounts a few years ago. Family accounts on Spotify allow 6 users to join an account for the price of one. In order to curb unsolicited password sharing, Spotify introduced terms and conditions that require family members to live at the same address. Users have to verify their address matches that of the account holder to be eligible.

In slightly more positive news, this Netflix block doesn’t seem to be in wide use just yet and there’s no confirmation on when or if this will be implemented permanently. Netflix has been known to trial features in phases across different countries before committing to a wide roll out.

Consider this your warning to sort out your account access before you’re potentially cut off.

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