If you’ve been sneakily using your ex-girlfriend’s stepmother’s Netflix account for the last three years, the jig may soon be up. The streamer is testing a new feature that requires additional authentication to log in.
Basically, some users have gotten a pop-up that says “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” You can opt to receive a verification code by email or text, or you can choose to “verify later.” Right now, you can still gain access to the platform by delaying verification, and it’s unclear when the message might appear again.
Netflix has yet to release a statement with all the details, though a spokesperson did confirm to Variety that the test “is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.” Variety also reported that Netflix is rolling it out across “multiple countries and only on TV devices.”
Even if Netflix eventually does away with the option to verify later, you should theoretically still be able to freeload off anyone you’re willing to ask for the verification code. In other words, the feature is mainly targeting viewers who don’t have permission to use someone’s account—not people who’ve gone in on a joint subscription (or grown children mooching off their loving parents).
But it’s still a surprise move from a company known to endorse password-sharing in the past. In 2016, Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings said at the Consumer Electronics Show that they “love people sharing Netflix.” Even so, it's not the first time the company has attempted to track down those users who don't have their own account, and it probably won't be the last.