Netflix has never made a big deal about password-sharing, but a new test suggests the company may be reconsidering.

By Alex Sherman

Netflix is trying out a new policy with some customers, prompting certain people to sign up for a separate account if they aren’t watching with the subscriber.

The message reads: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” The Streamable first reported about the trial.

According to a spokesman, Netflix tries “hundreds” of tests a year with select customers. The trial may not lead to a larger crackdown around password sharing. The test could be applied for account security as well as sharing passwords.

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

Sharing passwords with people outside of your household is already forbidden in Netflix’s terms and conditions, but the streaming giant hasn’t enforced it in the past. The company currently limits the number of devices on which you can simultaneously stream its content, which is dictated by your subscription tier.

Netflix does not currently place a limit on how many devices can be logged into your account at one time.

Co-founder and director of Netflix Reed Hastings delivers a speech as he inaugurates the new offices of Netflix France, in Paris on January 17, 2020.
Christophe Archambault | AFP | Getty Images

Although Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings said in 2016 that password-sharing is “something you have to learn to live with,” there have been increased efforts in recent years to clamp down on the practice. 

Bloomberg reported in 2019 that Netflix, HBO, and a group of cable companies had formed a coalition to figure out “consumer-friendly” ways to limit shared passwords, like text codes or required, periodic password changes.

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