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YouTube's ad blocker war leads to major slowdowns and surge in scam ads

It looks like a lose-lose situation if you don't pay for YouTube Premium.

Published onJanuary 15, 2024

YouTube on smartphone stock photo 18
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • YouTube is really slowing down the platform for people using ad blockers.
  • Video load times have gone up as much as five minutes.
  • Meanwhile, the platform seems flooded with bad, misleading advertisements.

YouTube is waging war against ad blockers, and over the past few months, the platform has made it very clear it doesn’t want people to use them. It now gives users a warning that ad blockers violate the company’s terms of service, leaving users with no option but to get a YouTube Premium subscription if they wish to go ad-free. Another way YouTube is discouraging users from enabling ad blockers is to slow down the platform for them.

YouTube ran a similar exercise back in November when it admitted to intentionally slowing down load times for users who continue using ad blockers. Now, it seems a fresh wave of slowdowns is hitting users who still refuse to give up ad blockers.

According to several Reddit threads, those using ad blockers are experiencing a lot of lags on YouTube. Video load times are up as much as five minutes for some users across different browsers. Some users who pay for Premium are also experiencing lags just because they have ad blockers enabled for other purposes. So it looks like YouTube will throttle performance for users even if they pay for the service but have ad blockers enabled.

What’s more frustrating for users is the fact that without ad blockers enabled or a Premium membership, YouTube is flooded with scam ads. A whole thread on Reddit describes the kind of bad ads showing up on the platform, including those that impersonate popular YouTubers and celebrities to scam people financially. For instance, one such ad plays out a deep fake video of Jennifer Aniston offering viewers a MacBook Pro for $10.

“Apparently, they get removed, but the people who make the ads make different accounts and emails to continue spreading the same ad, and I doubt YouTube will do anything about it because I’m fairly certain there’s no real person checking what ads go to their site,” said one user.

Apart from scam ads, YouTube users have also been spotting porn ads on the platform of late. While the platform confirmed to Android Authority that it takes action against accounts posting ads that go against its policies, bad ads are very much still doing the rounds on YouTube and users are seeing them now more than ever because of the ad blocker ban.

It remains to be seen if Google plans on taking stricter measures to curb the spread of misleading ads on YouTube. We’ll be reaching out to the company for some answers and would advise users against clicking on any YouTube ads that sound too good to be true or promise unrealistic giveaways or other gains.

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