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Netflix may be clamping down on password sharing

— AFP/File

Netflix has rolled out a feature that asks users to verify if they are authorised to use the account.

The move is being widely seen as a likelihood that the streaming giant will clampdown on the sharing of passwords.

A limited number of users have reported receiving pop-up alerts asking them to verify if they live in the same household as the account holder. The verification process involves entering details from a text message or email sent to the account owner.

The message can be ignored but may reappear when the service is opened again.

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

The terms of service of the company state that users must live in the same household. Company officials had so far denied they are cracking down broadly on password sharing.

Some Netflix users who were apparently tapping into other people’s accounts turned to Twitter to share news of an apparent crackdown along with posts of a notice telling them they need to be subscribers to keep watching the service.

Netflix included an offer to try the service free for 30 days, according to a copy posted at Twitter.

“Oh no, Netflix doing the purge?” the Twitter user wrote in the post.

It was not certain the test of the account-user check would turn into a crackdown on password sharing across the service.

Nearly a third of subscribers to television streaming services such as Netflix share their passwords with people who don´t live with them, according to a survey last year by consulting firm Magid.

The practice has long been tolerated by California-based Netflix, which has said that “guardrails” are in place to prevent extreme abuses in password sharing.

People stuck at home due to the pandemic have turned to the internet for entertainment from streaming television to online video game play.

By the end of last year, Netflix solidified its lead position in video sharing by passing 200 million paid subscribers worldwide for the first time.

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