Using Someone Else’s Netflix Password Is Likely to Get Harder

Thursday - 18/03/2021 10:23
Photo illustration: Jacob Reynolds/WSJ
Photo illustration: Jacob Reynolds/WSJ
Streaming service’s recent experiment to tighten security puts freeloaders on notice

Think twice before sharing that Netflix password.

The streaming service for years turned a blind eye to password sharing, but recently started prompting some of its users to verify their identity through a text message.

Netflix Inc.’s rivals, including AT&T Inc.’s HBO Max, Walt Disney Co. ’s Disney+ and Comcast Corp.’s Peacock, often email their customers when they notice multiple logins from various locations, according to people familiar with the companies’ policies. The emails usually say that the service wants to ensure the user’s account wasn’t hacked, the people said. But they also serve as a gentle reminder to customers that companies know when more than one person is using the account, industry experts said.

Netflix’s efforts to prevent password sharing come as the streaming field grows more crowded and competitors amass more subscribers. Recently Disney+ surpassed 100 million global customers.

A Netflix spokesman declined to say whether all users would see verification requests, only saying that the effort was designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so. Netflix hasn’t cut off any subscribers for sharing a password, a person close to the company said.


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