YouTube observed testing ad injection that bypasses adblockers

Some users are reporting that their adblockers are no longer working on YouTube, as the platform is experimenting with server-side ad injections. And there is no skip button for them.

SponsorBlock, a crowdsourced browser extension for skipping sponsor segments in YouTube videos, warns that the new experiment will also affect its service, as the additional ad times will offset all the timestamps on YouTube videos.

“YouTube is currently experimenting with server-side ad injection. This means that the ad is being added directly into the video stream,” SponsorBlock said on its official X account.

Some users on Reddit confirm seeing new ads despite using an adblocker, such as uBlock Origin. This latest issue with YouTube ads quickly became the most active thread this month on the uBlockOrigin subreddit.

If true, ad injection means the ad plays as an integrated part of the video stream. According to users on social media platforms, the feature “hijacks” the video player while the ad is playing, preventing them from selecting any point on the timeline during that time. The ability to seek or skip ahead using the arrow keys is also disabled.

“I saw these ads today when I tried to play the video. Two-minute unskippable ads about some kind of bullshit mobile game,” one user said.

Another user on X confirmed that the new ad-displaying feature does not allow users to skip ads. In a posted screen recording, it appears that video controls are not working while the ad is being displayed.

“I once came across an ad that was almost 2 minutes long, and there was no skip button, so I just closed the page,” user on X said.

Cybernews reached out to Google for clarification and is awaiting their response. Google previously told Cybernews that viewers with adblockers “may experience suboptimal viewing.”

YouTube has been cracking down on adblockers for a while, experimenting with new anti-adblock features, such as alerting users with pop-ups and interrupts, streaming slow-downs, or skipping and muting videos. It’s not yet clear how the adblockers’ developers will respond next in this neverending game of cat-and-mouse.