Is Netflix Cracking Down on Viewers Who ‘Borrow’ Passwords?

Upset viewers watching TV on the computer
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

If you have been hitching a ride on the Netflix account of a friend or family member, the gravy train may be about to stop.

Netflix is cracking down on sharing of passwords by people who don’t live in the same household, according to recent reports.

Some customers who engage in this practice have received a warning message, according to The Streamable: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”

And simply ignoring the message is not an option. Instead, you are told that to continue watching, you need to verify the account with an email or text code, or create a new account.

The Streamable reports that you get a 30-day free trial when you create an account, which may ease the sting of learning that gratis Netflix soon could be a memory.

GammaWire also is reporting on the new Netflix strategy — and expressing some surprise at the decision. As GammaWire reports:

“The most notable part of this whole test is that Netflix has long claimed letting people borrow passwords has been one of their strongest marketing channels. While never officially confirmed, there were reports that Netflix had metrics showing those who used other people’s Netflix accounts were highly likely to sign up for their own accounts.”

The Streamable reached out to Netflix, and a company spokesperson confirmed that sending the messages to viewers is a “test” intended to make sure “people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.”

While cracking down on borrowed passwords might seem like a new tack, Netflix’s terms of use clearly state the following:

“The Netflix service and any content viewed through our service are for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.”

So, it is likely that the end of free Netflix streaming is near. Given that reality, you might want to investigate other options for free or low-cost streaming services. You will find some ideas in “15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.