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Fun’s Over: Netflix Is Cracking Down on Password Sharing

Head’s up to anyone out there who’s gotten by the last few years on a “borrowed” Netflix account from their ex-boyfriend or whatever. Netflix knows what you’re up to, they’ve been patient long enough and the free ride has come to an end. The streaming giant and password host is running tests on a new feature that will usher in a sad new era of having to grow up and get your own account.

GammaWire says some users are already getting rolled into the beta version, in which a message pops up on Netflix saying “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” If they want to keep watching, they have to verify some information via a text and email sent to the actual account owner. Of course, there are still some ways you hack that system (might be a little awkward to text your ex for a Netflix code though).

Netflix confirmed the report to the Hollywood Reporter, so it sounds like this really might happen, although the timeline isn’t clear. Netflix has about 203 million users worldwide (that it knows of) and in the past, has more or less shrugged at password sharing. “Password sharing is something you have to learn to live with, because there’s so much legitimate password sharing, like you sharing with your spouse, with your kids …so there’s no bright line, and we’re doing fine as is,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in 2016. And Netflix added users in the last year, since Netflix was one of the few things you were allowed to do during a pandemic — and hit shows like Bridgerton and The Queen’s Gambit held people’s attention in quarantine.

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But the free ride is over. Time to either get back together with your ex or get your own account.

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