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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Life + Arts

Students weigh in on new Netflix feature limiting password sharing


Netflix has begun to test two-factor authorization among some of its users. With the feature, the streaming giant hopes to protect users from unwanted outsiders, and potentially increase their subscriber count and viewership. | Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

Netflix has begun to test two-factor authorization among some of its users. With the feature, the streaming giant hopes to protect users from unwanted outsiders and potentially increase their subscriber count and viewership. | Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

Netflix has begun to introduce two-factor authentication among its users, a new move to crack down on password sharing. 

As part of the new feature, some Netflix users will receive the following message before watching their favorite shows: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” 

Confirming the message requires the input of a code sent to the account owner by text or email.

The announcement of the limited-feature startled users as sharing passwords might come to an end. For many, it is a cost-efficient way to keep up with their favorite shows and movies.

However, Netflix claims the two-factor authentication is for security purposes. 

While users are free to give their passwords to others, their account also becomes more susceptible to hackers. 

But it is not only their Netflix account imposing a risk with each share. With people often reusing their passwords across many sites, users could also risk having their accounts beyond Netflix compromised.

As a result, the two-factor authorization blocks unwanted outsiders, leaving users safer and secure. 

Although the feature is still in its early stages, widespread criticism of it has arisen. 

Like many, supply chain management senior Yemi Falae believes it is unnecessary.

“While I understand the need for security measures within technology, I feel this infringes on allowed accessibility,” Falae said. “Subscribers already can log-out everyone accessing their account, so this is not necessary.”

Despite its ability to secure accounts, Falae believes the two-factor authorization is a nuisance and will make it harder for family members or friends to log in.

However, what is an inconvenience to consumers might provide more benefits to Netflix. 

Within the streaming service industry, Netflix faces stiff competition among other platforms like Disney+, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video.

Although it ranks number one in terms of subscribers, its competitor Disney+ is predicted to surpass Netflix in 2025, according to Forbes

As they look to maintain subscribers and gain new ones, Netflix is testing new ways to increase viewership and subscribers.

One of those ways could be the two-factor authorization, which public relations senior Eno Oduok believes will drive up the streaming giant’s user count.

“I think it will help them reduce the number of unpaid users borrowing the accounts of paid users,” Oduok explains. “It will also help reduce the number of users watching shows on the account at the same time.”

However, Netflix also risks potential user turnover with the implementation of new features. 

Potentially driving freeloaders to get their accounts might push potential users to their competitors.

Falae, who primarily uses Hulu, shares her reluctance to use Netflix with its ongoing changes.

“They’ve already announced subscription prices increasing, and customers know if it’s more than the allotted screens, they’ll pay more,” she explains. “I don’t think Netflix will listen to their subscribers until they all amass and shift to Hulu.”

“Over the years, I’ve already been reluctant to use Netflix for the simple fact their large variety lacks quality. I’m primarily a Hulu user because I can catch up on my favorite shows the day after airing instead of waiting a year for Netflix to release the season.” Falae continues.

With the changes possibly doing more harm than good, Falae and Oduok believe there is one way Netflix can increase viewership: reduce prices.

“(Two-factor authorization) is an interesting way to increase their subscriber account, but at the same time, it’ll be inconvenient for the users,” Oduok said. “Their current pricing plan to stream is cost-efficient for most people, but I do believe they would gain more subscribers if they reduced their price.”

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