Netflix Begins to Crack Down on Password Sharing

Amali Chatterjee, Staff Writer

Recently Netflix started testing a tool to crack down on account sharing between multiple households. The service is using popups on their website to ask users for verification. Users are given an option to verify their account through text or email or to verify later. Users who first reported notice of testing said that a screen popped up with a message saying “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” 

Sharing accounts between households has become a common problem for Netflix. In a poll conducted by The Mirador Instagram account,  63% of 232 poll takers share passwords with people outside their household. “My family shares our Netflix password with our grandmas, so our password has been shared with other family members,” sophomore Ella Bradley said. 

Founded in 1997, Netflix was originally a DVD rental by mail service. Later on, they switched to a subscription based service with a “Watch Now” feature. Netflix has 203.67 million subscribers, making it the streaming service with the highest number of subscribers. 

Technically speaking, sharing passwords is a piracy crime. “Sharing your password is piracy, and it could be costing Netflix a good deal of money if people who would otherwise subscribe are using their friends’ passwords, so that’s no doubt a problem,” Netflix’s Chief Product Officer said in an earnings call. 

Although Netflix does intend to do something about unauthorized users and password sharing, the testing isn’t exactly a huge crackdown. “I’m not convinced this is an all-out assault. It could be a warning shot over the bow of some pirates,” professor of information technology and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University, Micheal D. Smith said to the New York Times.   

Even though Netflix is taking a stance against password sharing some people think that the new verification tool will not create huge user turnover. “No, I don’t think people will stop using Netflix if the company tries to verify that accounts aren’t shared because people will probably find a way around it. Also, Netflix is an extremely popular streaming site so I doubt people will stop using it anytime soon,” sophomore Charlotte Forman said.