A small number of Netflix users are receiving a message asking them to confirm they live with the account owner by entering details from a text message or email sent to the owner.
Viewers can delay the verification and keep watching Netflix. The message may reappear when they open Netflix again, and eventually they could be required to open a new account to continue streaming.
“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorised to do so,” a Netflix spokesperson said.
Netflix, the world’s largest streaming service, constantly tests new features with users and it is unclear if the household verification requirement will be implemented more widely.
The Netflix terms of service say that users of an account must live in the same household, though the company and other streaming services have declined to broadly crack down on sharing.
Despite this, an estimated one third of Netflix users in the US share their passwords according to surveys.
However, the company has appeared reluctant to stop the practice, preferring to concentrate on growing its audience.
In 2016, Netflix co-founder and chief executive Reed Hastings said: “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”.
However, the streaming market has become crowded, with companies recently placing more emphasis on retaining customers.
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