Firefox users frustrated over alleged 5 second-delay on Youtube

A heated discussion has erupted on online forums among Firefox users, who believe that YouTube may intentionally slow down video loading times on its rival browser. The company said those with ad blockers "may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser."

Firefox users are reporting a noticeable increase in load times on YouTube.

“They added in this artificial 5-second delay here,” one user posted on Reddit, sharing a screen recording.

In a demonstration video, the user also showcased a method to bypass the additional waiting time. The Redditor spoofed Chrome by changing the user agent, making YouTube assume that the browser was not Firefox. This change made the video “magically” load instantly.

The issue quickly gained traction on Hacker News, a social website for tech professionals.

Others were quick to identify the code in YouTube’s source that’s responsible for the 5000 ms delay. The code appears to be related to the anti-ad-blocking features YouTube has introduced recently.

“As far as I understand, this code is a part of the anti-adblocker code that (slowly) constructs an HTML fragment,” one tech head explained. “It has to be a background check, otherwise, you can't explain cases (like me) where the code is running, but users never noticed any delay.”

Other web surfers joked that they’re angrier about the “rudimentary way” the feature has been implemented rather than the 5-second delay itself.

“From 50 possible ways to implement this, they’ve chosen the absolutely most simple and therefore obvious and brute way to do it,” one Reddit user noted.

Many were angry about their experience while using Google’s services on Firefox.

“I use Firefox, and Google's sites are literally the only ones where I consistently have issues. There was a period of about a month this summer where Google Maps was just completely broken for me, the map wouldn't update at all when attempting to search or pan. There was recently a several-day span where chat in Gmail had a 10+ second input lag due to some font-related JavaScript code spinning the CPU nonstop. It's literally gotten to the point where I keep a Chrome window open and use it exclusively for Gmail, Google Meet, YouTube, and Google Maps,” shared one of many users on Hacker News.

Cybernews was unable to replicate the issue on Firefox, both with and without an ad-blocker installed.

Cybernews reached out to Google for clarification on the issue.

“Ads are a vital lifeline for our creators that helps them run and grow their businesses. That's why the use of ad blockers violate YouTube’s Terms of Service. We've been urging users for some time to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience. In the past week, users using ad blockers may have experienced suboptimal viewing, which included delays in loading, regardless of the browser they are using. Users who have uninstalled their ad blockers may still experience a temporary delay in loading, and should try refreshing their browser,” YouTube's spokesperson said.

Youtube explained in updated statement that its ad blocker detection does not target any specific browsers, and users are seeing delays in loading across all browsers, when ad blockers are installed.

We will continue to encourage users to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience. Users using ad blockers may continue to experience degraded service, as we evolve our detection efforts,” Youtube's comment reads.

It’s not the first time the Firefox community has been at odds with Google for “deliberately” trying to slow down the experience. Former Mozilla executive Chris Peterson claimed back in 2018 that “YouTube page load is 5x slower in Firefox and Edge than in Chrome”, according to

Others noticed that other Google services were also slower on Firefox or other browsers.

Updated with Youtube's comment.

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prefix 4 months ago
This kind of anti-consumer action in exaggerating the loading times for Google products, and the tracking you in "private tabs" should prove that they (Google) does not care about you in way more than acquiring as much information to sell on you as they can.

Make the switch away from Google completely. There are so many alternatives for everything that Google does, I suggest paid services because you know up front that you are directly funding them and have more control over what they can do since you are their using their product, not using you as the product.
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