YouTube says the latest video slowdowns aren't part of its effort against ad-blockers

YouTube on Pixel 7 Pro
(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Update (January 15, 5:40 pm ET): YouTube says the recent reports of loading delays from AdBlock and AdBlock Plus users are unrelated to its ad blocker detection efforts.

Update 2 (January 16, 10:45 am ET): The team behind AdBlock and Adblock Plus has rolled out a fix.

What you need to know

  • YouTube has taken fresh measures against ad blockers by slowing down the site for users employing them, with the slowdowns prompting them to either disable their ad blockers or opt for YouTube Premium.
  • Users have reported laggy and unresponsive experiences, which are resolved by disabling ad blockers.
  • Ad blockers have been a popular choice to combat frequent ads on YouTube, but the platform considers it a violation of terms of service.

YouTube's battle against ad-blockers is making headlines globally, and now the platform is stepping up its effort against users who use these tools to skip ads while watching videos.

A number of users on Reddit are sharing that YouTube is now deliberately slowing down the whole site if you've got an ad blocker enabled (via 9to5Google). In the Reddit thread, many users found themselves in the same boat, scratching their heads and (wrongly) blaming their internet speed for the unexpected drag.

People using ad blockers faced issues like slow previews and features like fullscreen and theater mode refusing to play nice. It turns out the fix was a simple one: just ditch the ad blocker, and suddenly everything loaded up at normal speed again.

YouTube has been throwing punches in its ongoing battle against ad blockers. In its latest jab, the service is waving a big red flag, saying ad blockers are a violation of its terms of service. So, if you're tired of the ad invasion, YouTube's solution is to pay for a YouTube Premium subscription.

The Google-owned video sharing site is pulling off these slowdowns with an artificial timeout hidden in its code. While it's not exactly a new trick, it seems like more users are stumbling upon this slowdown.

Back in November, YouTube pulled a similar move and owned up to deliberately hitting the brakes on load times for users sticking with their ad blockers.

Earlier last year, the service rolled out a three-strike rule for videos, prompting users to either disable ad blockers or sign up for YouTube Premium. If three videos are viewed while an ad blocker is enabled, the video player will be blocked.

Update

A YouTube spokesperson told Android Central in a statement that the loading delays experienced by Adblock and AdBlock Plus users are not caused by its ad blocker detection efforts.

"Recent reports of users experiencing loading delays on YouTube are unrelated to our ad blocker detection efforts," the company said. "Our help center offers troubleshooting tips for users experiencing issues."

The most recent updates to Adblock and Adblock Plus extensions (version 5.17) seem to be causing some performance problems, according to uBlock Origin developer Raymond Hill on X (formerly Twitter).

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Update 2

Eyeo, the team behind AdBlock, told Android Central that it has fixed the glitch that was messing with your YouTube experience and causing higher CPU use when browsing the web.

"AdBlock and Adblock Plus users have recently experienced a slow down in performance and a higher use of CPU when browsing on YouTube and other websites," said Gertrud Kolb, Chief Technology Officer at Eyeo. "Our engineering team fixed the problem and released ABP 3.22.1 and AB 5.17.1."

The latest versions are up and running on Opera and Edge extension stores, and they're currently under review for Mozilla and Chrome.

"This means the problem is solved and AdBlock and Adblock Plus users should not experience issues that are related to the fixed bug, as soon as their extension is updated to the new version," Kolb said.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.