Netflix clamps down password sharing, Sets new rules for shared accounts!


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The streaming platform, Netflix has proved to be a savior especially during the COVID pandemic enforced lockdown worldwide. In one of its annual routine enhancements, it is looking to add another layer of security for business reasons. It is in news recently because Netflix tests cracking password sharing.

In research by Magid, almost one-third of Netflix users stream content using shared passwords. Although it is a universal fact, somewhat it has been ignored by Netflix to date. A possible change in policy with the step of a crackdown on password sharing has taken users off guard.

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


In other words, Netflix wants an additional layer of account security as well as sharing passwords to only authorized users. It’s certainly not good news for freeloaders. Viewers are reporting about facing warning prompts against password sharing. It is asking for them to either verify their account or pony up for another account. However, while many people have their own accounts, it is not uncommon for some to share their passwords for the streaming service with others.

What is “Netflix tests cracking password sharing”?

Some users were taken by surprise when a message by Netflix flashed on their screens: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”

Netflix wants an account user to verify the account. The text read “Is this your account? We’ll send you a verification code”. The subscriber had the option to receive the code via an Email code or Text code or Verify later.

On opting ‘Verify Later’, one can put off the process temporarily and continue to watch for around 30 days. As expected, if anyone is unable to verify the authority of the account within a time period, he cannot access Netflix services.

Is sharing Netflix password illegal?

Technically speaking sharing passwords is illegal and ToS of Netflix states

“the Account Owner’s control is exercised through use of the Account Owner’s password and therefore to maintain exclusive control, the Account Owner should not reveal the password to anyone.”

However, Netflix’s terms of use also says that accounts can only be shared with the people you live with, a physical household. TOS is obviously dubious when it comes to the family plan.

“The Netflix service and any content viewed through the service are for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household,”

– Netflix terms of use.

A total of five profiles can be created on a single Netflix account. But the count of screens that can stream content simultaneously depends on the plan chosen.

Netflix’s Basic subscription plan costs Rs.500/month on one screen at a time. The standard plan costs Rs.650/month and allows streaming on two screens simultaneously. The premium account costs Rs.799/month and permits four simultaneous screens. Mobile-only Netflix streams cost around Rs.199, allowing users to watch on one mobile screen.

Netflix tests on password sharing have reportedly been implemented in a number of countries. But it is not known how widely it will be rolled out. The move is an indicator of the future to come, but when it will be rolled out is yet to receive an official nod.

The latest test to verify the subscription credentials of users and convert password freeloaders into paying customers will certainly help the global streamer to grow its subscriber count, according to a Wall Street analyst.

Also, a potential positive tradeoff to clamping down on password sharing is the cost increases will slow down. With only two main costs- operative costs of infrastructure, hosting, development, and intellectual property rights, one can hope to see cost containment in the coming days.

Kushal Gunturu
Kushal Gunturu
Kushal has been a gamer geek since the inception of God of War. A doctor during the day and a writer during the night, he is the batman of his dreams. At times, you can find him scribbling across pages with a flashlight over his head. If you find him anywhere, you can be sure that he would playing, reading or sleeping - he does nothing else.


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