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YouTube’s Ad Blocker Crackdown Causes ‘Subpar’ Viewing Experience, Google Admits

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Certain viewers on YouTube, opting for Firefox or Edge over Chrome, have reported a roughly five-second delay when loading videos. Screen recordings shared on platforms like Reddit illustrate a brief period of a blank screen before the YouTube video page fully loads, a phenomenon seemingly absent when using Chrome. However, Android Authority and 404media, reporting on user complaints, were unable to replicate the issue, and we observed no discernible discrepancy in loading times across different browsers.

Some YCombinator and Reddit users have identified code suggesting that YouTube has implemented an anti-adblocker mechanism, causing these delays. While we found the mentioned code snippet, its precise function remains unclear. In a statement to Android Authority, Google acknowledged implementing a system to encourage users to uninstall ad blockers, noting that those with ad blockers might experience suboptimal viewing regardless of the browser.

“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,” a Google spokesperson explained. They added that users with ad blockers might encounter suboptimal viewing on any browser.

YouTube intensified its crackdown on ad blockers this year, notably preventing global viewers from watching videos unless they disabled certain apps, add-ons, and extensions. This move aimed to encourage users disenchanted with ads to consider the $14-a-month YouTube Premium service. Despite reports of increased uninstallations of ad blockers, Google has yet to disclose whether YouTube Premium subscriptions have correspondingly risen.

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