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YouTube blames ad blockers for slow load times, and it has nothing to do with your browser

The delay is intentional, but targeting users who continue using ad blockers, and not tied to any browser specifically.
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Published onNovember 21, 2023

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TL;DR
  • YouTube has clarified and confirmed that users who continue using ad blockers may experience “suboptimal viewing,” regardless of their browser.
  • This statement comes as a response to user reports that allege that YouTube is intentionally adding a delay on non-Chrome browsers, as the delay allegedly goes away when using Chrome.

We reported yesterday that YouTube has been inducing a delay in loading videos on non-Chrome browsers like Firefox and Edge, though some users said they observe it on Chrome as well. Google has now issued a statement, attributing the delay in loading YouTube videos to ad blockers and confirming that users must wait a bit if they continue using them.

Here is the complete statement sent to us by a YouTube spokesperson:

To support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favorite content on YouTube, we’ve launched an effort to urge viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad free experience. Users who have ad blockers installed may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser they are using.

Google’s statement squarely marks the delay as an intentional change targeted toward users who continue to use ad blockers. This is another step in blocking ad blockers on YouTube and pushing users to either accept ad-supported YouTube or subscribe to YouTube Premium. It makes sense, as YouTube is a business that survives on ads and subscriptions, and not blessing the platform with either of those will make it difficult for the platform (and, by extension, its creators) to thrive.

Google’s statement also discards the notion that the delay in loading videos is related to browsers. However, users have reported the delay going away when switching to Chrome.

There is a possibility that the change is being tested on accounts marked for ad blocking, and the test is being conducted first on non-Chrome browsers, with the final intention being to apply the change across all browsers. That would align most user reports with Google’s statements, though several users have also mentioned that the video delay occurs even with no extensions loaded.

Have you experienced delays on YouTube? Do you experience this delay with ad blockers? Let us know in the comments below!