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YouTube could be testing a three-strikes policy for ad blocking (Update)

Update: YouTube has now confirmed that this test is taking place.

Published onJune 29, 2023

YouTube Premium Inside App Logo
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • YouTube is apparently testing a three-strikes policy for people who block ads on the platform.
  • The policy would eventually see users barred from watching videos.
  • The company has since confirmed the test in a statement to Android Authority.

Update: June 30, 2023 (3:15 AM ET): YouTube has now confirmed that it is indeed testing a three-strikes policy for ad blocking on its platform. You can read more details, including how it works, over here.

Original article: June 29, 2023 (10:40 AM ET): YouTube requires users to pay for YouTube Premium if they’d like an ad-free experience, but some users have bypassed ads by using third-party apps or ad blockers instead. Now, it looks like the video platform is testing a way to fight back.

Redditor Reddit_n_Me apparently came across a new three-strikes popup menu while watching YouTube on their PC with AdBlock enabled (h/t: WinFuture and GameStar). Check out the captured screenshot below.

The popup menu in the screenshot suggests users will be barred from YouTube viewing after watching three videos with an ad blocker enabled.

“It looks like you may be using an ad blocker. Video playback will be blocked unless YouTube is allowlisted or the ad blocker is disabled,” reads an excerpt of the screenshot. The service presents users with two buttons, prompting them to either allow ads in their ad blocker or letting them buy YouTube Premium.

For what it’s worth, none of us at Android Authority saw this popup menu on our computers while using an ad blocker. It’s unclear if the type of ad blocker has an effect, but I didn’t see the menu while using uBlock Origin.

Will this policy make you buy YouTube Premium?

22539 votes

We’ve asked Google for confirmation of this three-strikes feature on YouTube, as well as whether it’s a test and exactly how it will work. We’ve also asked what this policy would mean for the Google accounts of offending users. We’ll update the article accordingly if they get back to us.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that Google is tightening the noose on circumventing YouTube ads. This comes a while after the popular and unofficial YouTube Vanced app was shut down following a legal threat by Google.

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