Netflix is on to your shenanigans, and by golly it’s going to do something about it.
The streaming behemoth is taking new steps to stop the dreaded scourge of account sharing this week, demanding an unspecified number of users prove it’s their account watching all those Great British Baking Show reruns. According to the Hollywood Reporter and a screenshot shared on Twitter, which Netflix confirmed is authentic, some users will be asked to verify their account with either an emailed or texted code.
“If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching,” reads the message.
“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” a Netflix spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter.
As the photo demonstrates, users are also being given the option to “verify later.” At present, according to Netflix, the number of times a user is able to click “Verify Later” before being forced to verify is not set in stone.
While this new verification effort may boot unwanted piggybackers, as presented it fails to stop one key demographic: people intentionally sharing their passwords with friends and family. After all, if you gave your Netflix password to someone, why wouldn’t you also share a Netflix verification code?
Now, Netflix could of course ask for verification every single time people in different locations attempted to use the same account. If it does so, the company may not be attempting to outsmart accounts sharers, but rather annoy them into attrition.
After all, how many times are you going to text your stoned buddy a verification code at 3:07 a.m. on a Tuesday before you simply tell her to get her own account?
Either way, it doesn’t look like people intentionally sharing Netflix accounts need to freak — yet. Netflix confirmed this is a test which varies from country to country. In other words, you might never see this, and Netflix might abandon the entire effort instead of expand it.
In other words, kick up your feet and enjoy that shared account. You’ve (sort of) earned it.
UPDATE: March 11, 2021, 5:22 p.m. UTC: This story has been updated to include additional information from Netflix.