Netflix Inc is testing a feature that asks viewers to verify they share a household with the account holder, the company said on Thursday, a move that could lead to a clampdown on sharing of passwords.
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 authorized 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.
Meanwhile Netflix got in a spot of bother with Indian authorities as a government agency for protecting child rights has asked Netflix Inc to immediately stop streaming its new drama series “Bombay Begums” after it reviewed complaints around scenes showing children consuming drugs.
In a letter to Netflix late on Thursday, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) asked the U.S. streaming giant to investigate the matter and submit a report within 24 hours, or face further action.
The NCPCR notice referred to a tweet where a user objected to a scene showing “minors having cocaine”.
“The series with this type of content will not only pollute the young minds of children, and may also result in abuse and exploitation of children,” the NCPCR notice said.
Netflix did not respond to a request for comment.
Released this week, “Bombay Begums” is a series about five women from different parts of society trying to get ahead in modern Mumbai, formerly called Bombay.
The controversy is the latest to hit video streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in India, where they have faced complaints also around promoting obscenity or hurting religious sentiments. Industry executives say such complaints go against freedom of speech and expression in the country.
A member of India’s ruling party’s youth wing last year lodged a police complaint against Netflix objecting to scenes in the series “A Suitable Boy” showing a Hindu girl kissing a Muslim boy against the backdrop of a Hindu temple.
Amazon recently became embroiled in legal cases following allegations that its political drama “Tandav” depicts Hindu gods in a derogatory manner.
Several users on Friday tweeted their objections and support for the new Netflix show, making #BombayBegums a top trend on the microblogging website.
“If your child is influenced to do drugs by scenes in which a young girl does cocaine … You need to talk to your child, not the show,” Twitter user Sahir said.