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YouTube confirms ad blocking crackdown is going global (Updated)

Update: YouTube has now confirmed that its broadening its fight against ad blockers.

Published onOctober 31, 2023

Update: October 31, 2023 (11:26 PM ET): After our original report about an increasing number of users being unable to use ad blockers on YouTube, the platform has confirmed to The Verge that it has launched a global effort against ad blockers.

Original article: October 31, 2023 (8:27 AM ET): YouTube is making everyone mad. If you scroll through r/YouTube on Reddit, it’s easy to gather just how furious the platform’s users are with its wide-ranging crusade against ad blockers. Every other post on the subreddit is filled with utter disappointment and hatred for the policy, with many threatening to boycott YouTube entirely and subscribe to alternative services.

An increasing number of YouTube users are now seeing a warning asking them to turn off ad blockers and watch ads or pay $14 for a YouTube Premium subscription. This kind of strongarming isn’t sitting well with folks who have been loyal subscribers of the platform for years.

“If they don’t drop this adblock (which they probably won’t) I’m just not going to use the site, I’ll just hop over to Soundcloud or Spotify and listen to music and watch YouTube on my phone,” wrote one Reddit user.

“I have never seen an Ad on YouTube, and I will continue to use Adblock my entire life,” wrote another. These are just a few of the thousands of comments on Reddit dissing YouTube’s widening ad blocker restrictions.

Google’s clampdown on YouTube ad blockers was previously just a small experiment, but it looks like the company has opened the floodgates for most users now.

Google Trends also shows a spike in searches for the term “YouTube ad blocker” since October 10, which is possibly when the platform extended its crackdown to more number of users. Searches for other terms like “YouTube ad block” and “YouTube adblocker” are also on the rise.

YouTube ad blocker google trends
Google Trends

It’s not just the searches for ad blockers that still work on YouTube that are growing, there has also been a rise in new ad-blocking services. Multiple new Chrome extensions have popped up in the past few weeks, claiming they can help bypass YouTube’s ad blocker restrictions. However, most of them don’t seem to work as intended. If you use services like Privacy Badger, you will also likely get pulled up as a violator of YouTube’s anti-ad blocker policy.

“When you block YouTube ads, you violate YouTube’s Terms of Service. If you use ad blockers, we’ll ask you to allow ads on YouTube or sign up for YouTube Premium. If you continue to use ad blockers, we may block your video playback,” YouTube writes on a support page, pointing to its three-strike policy that threatens to block the video player entirely if users continue using ad blockers.

YouTube three strikes policy

It’s highly unlikely that YouTube will ever soften its stance against ad blockers given that advertisements are the biggest source of income for Google and the fact that creators on the platform also rely on ad revenue to support their channels. The most you can do is customize the ads you see through your Google Account’s Ad Center. That said, you can still try a few tricks to circumvent Google’s restrictions. Fair warning: These might also stop working as and when Google catches up to them.

How to get past YouTube’s ad blocker restrictions

YouTube premium app on smartphone stock photo (3)
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Ad blockers like uBlock Origin still successfully block ads on YouTube if you’re using the Firefox browser. Many on Reddit attest to the fact and here’s a whole post on the platform explaining how you can do this.

Popular service Adblock Plus has also issued some instructions to try and get past YouTube’s surveillance on ad blockers. It recommends users keep their filter lists up to date so that any changes made by filter list authors are applied to their extension. It also suggests using custom blocking rules when you see something you’d like to remove from a page.

Alternatively, AdBlock Plus notes using the private browsing mode on a browser can also affect how YouTube’s anti-ad block wall functions. You can also add YouTube to your allowlist. While this will allow YouTube ads, Adblock Plus will continue to block pop-ups and other annoying ads everywhere else for you.

An X (formerly Twitter) user came up with another ingenious way of avoiding ads while watching a video. Essentially, you tap the share button, click on embed, and watch the video without ads on the player that pops up. It’s a very sad way of watching YouTube videos, but it works nevertheless.

Youtube recently started blocking the video player if ad blocker is installed. Here’s a way to get past it:
If you want to get past that:
1. Click on share
2. Click on embed
3. Enjoy the video as usual!! 🎉🎉#youtube #youtubepremium
— Shanjai raj (@shanjai_raj) October 9, 2023

Meanwhile, some people also recommend signing out of YouTube to avoid watching ads. It looks like Google shows more ads to signed-in users than casual browsers who don’t have an account on the platform.

Unfortunately, YouTube’s anti-ad blocker rules aren’t going anywhere. If anything, the platform will deploy more aggressive measures to get past ad blockers and other workarounds that disable ads in the future.

YouTube is blocking ad blockers. What will you do?

2653 votes

What do you think of YouTube’s ad blocker crackdown? Do you plan on subscribing to YouTube Premium to avoid ads, or are you happy watching ads during videos on a free subscription? Take our poll above and share your thoughts in the comments section.

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