Is Netflix Cracking Down on Password Sharing?

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Asif Ahmed
Asif Ahmed
Founder and Cheif Editor of Techtippr, Get in touch with me on Twitter or Enjoy my Stories on Instagram. I think they are interesting. :-)

Netflix relies on paid subscriptions for revenue. So when accounts are shared beyond households, it’s a thorn in their side. Recently, Netflix has rolled out tests to limit password sharing. What does this mean for users?

The Password Sharing Crackdown

For years, Netflix took a lax approach to password sharing between family and friends. But with saturating growth in major markets, Netflix is eager to convert “borrowers” to paying subscribers.

Signs of a crackdown emerged in early 2022. Tests began rolling out asking users to verify their home network. This detects accounts being used outside of one household.

When the system flags an account as suspect, the user receives a prompt. It asks them to confirm access from that new network or device. If they can’t, remote users could be logged out. Check the last section of this article, if you are curious to know how does Netflix detect password sharing?

Gradual, Location-Based Implementation

Netflix confirms they’re testing tools to limit sharing. However, the roll out seems gradual and targeted so far.

Some regions have seen more prompts than others. Access via TVs and living room devices appears to trigger more verification requests than mobile.

Netflix is likely monitoring reaction and fine-tuning their approach as they expand the tests. For now, enforcement seems more bark than bite in many areas.

Workarounds Exist…For Now

Savvy users are finding ways around the new restrictions, for now. Some solutions to continue sharing include:

  • Having borrowers periodically change IP and GPS data via VPNs or proxy servers.
  • Temporarily linking borrower devices to the account owner’s home network through tethering and hotspots.
  • Periodically changing the account password and sharing the new one.

However, as Netflix bolsters its anti-sharing systems, these loopholes could soon close.

What Does This Mean for Sharing?

The days of carefree Netflix password sharing appear to be ending. The tests indicate Netflix is serious about converting borrowers to paid accounts.

In the near future, expect fuller enforcement where those outside households will be blocked or prompted to sign up. Home network verifications will likely become the norm.

For now, sharing still works in many cases, but users should be prepared for the inevitable squeeze. The free ride is coming to a stop.

How does Netflix detect password sharing?

  1. IP Address Tracking: One common method to detect password sharing is by monitoring the IP addresses that are accessing an account. If multiple IP addresses from different locations are frequently accessing the same account, it could indicate unauthorized sharing. However, this approach has limitations, as multiple users might legitimately access an account from different locations (e.g., family members in different households, travelers).
  2. Device IDs: Netflix might also track the unique identifiers of devices used to access an account. If a single account is being accessed from a large number of devices in a short span of time, it could be an indicator of password sharing.
  3. Geolocation Data: Netflix could use geolocation data to determine if account access is happening from different regions simultaneously, suggesting that the account is being shared beyond reasonable use.
  4. Behavioral Analysis: Netflix could analyze user behavior patterns to detect anomalies. For instance, if an account is suddenly streaming content on an unusual number of devices or if it starts streaming content that is not consistent with the account owner’s historical preferences, it might raise suspicion.
  5. Account Activity Monitoring: Netflix could monitor the concurrent streaming sessions on a single account. If an account is being used to stream content on multiple devices simultaneously, it could be an indication of password sharing.
  6. Machine Learning and AI: Netflix could employ machine learning algorithms to detect patterns of usage that deviate from typical user behavior. This could include analyzing factors such as the types of content being streamed, the times of day the account is being used, and the devices used.

What are the current plans offered by Netflix?

Netflix offers a range of plans tailored to your entertainment needs, with the number of simultaneous viewers determined by your plan.

For instance,

  • Standard plan at $15.49/month allows streaming on 2 devices concurrently,
  • Full HD streaming, and the ability to download on 2 devices. (Moreover, you can invite an additional member to share the account).
  • The Premium plan, priced at $19.99/month, permits streaming on 4 devices simultaneously,
  • Ultra HD streaming, downloading on 6 devices, and the option to add up to 2 extra members.

Each profile has its own login, but the number of viewers at once is determined by the plan’s screen limit, which ranges from 2 to 4 devices based on the plan you choose.

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