YouTube warns against using ad blockers – then runs an ad for one


Despite launching a campaign to kick freeware users off its platform for using software that disables commercials, YouTube is running ads for ad blockers. Confused? You should be.

Earlier this month, the video-sharing platform declared a “global effort to urge viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience.”

As MalwareBytes reported at that time, non-Premium users who continued to use the free version plus ad blocker software as a workaround faced being banned from watching any videos.

Hence, the cybersecurity firm’s apparent surprise last week at finding that some of those ads YouTube desperately wants freeware users to watch… are advertising ad blockers.

“YouTube has made it quite clear that using an ad blocker goes against its Terms of Service, reminding users that they have a choice between accepting ads or paying for a premium subscription,” said MalwareBytes.

“Yet, as of November 9th, 2023, YouTube was still showing an ad for Total Adblock, a browser extension that blocks… ads. It certainly looks confusing and is sending mixed messages.”

YouTube advert for AdBlock contradicts its own T&C
Confusing: YouTube advert for AdBlock contradicts its own T&C

From confusing to dangerous

Worse still, YouTube has done little to nothing to curb the spread of scam advertisements on its platform, Malwarebytes adds.

“While looking for evidence of scammy ads, it took us less than a minute to come across one of those infamous Quantum AI crypto scams,” it said, referring to a click-bait fake news article that redirects users to an illegal scam website.

“An unverified advertiser was allowed to serve this ad and expose users to a financial scam where they can lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars,” said MalwareBytes.

Apparently, this does not concern YouTube – just so long as its own revenue streams keep flowing.

“While there is some irony here, the greater concern is that perhaps YouTube doesn’t have a good handle on its ads and maybe that is why users have resorted to ad blockers in recent years,” said MalwareBytes. “It’s not that people want an ad-free experience to purposely hurt content creators.”

The cybersecurity software developer finished by hinting that YouTube should change its position and address the growing concerns around its ad policies.

“We have yet to see if YouTube will maintain its stance or take any actions to address those core issues,” it said.


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Comments

Former youtube user
prefix 6 months ago
It is absolutely NONE of youtube's business what software I have or use on MY computer. End of story. No discussion ever period. If they want to go to being a paid service only, that is certainly their right but they DO NOT have the right to tell me what I can use on my own computer. The fact that they are even trying should be considered the highest cyber crime punishable by law. Due to this move, I have removed Youtube from all of my devices, including my children's phones and consoles. Youtube is gone and will not be coming back. Advertising has run amok and now surpasses content in both volume and intrusiveness. It is time to boycott.
Robert Pruitt
prefix 6 months ago
Google could easily be sued for banning people for using a service or product that they advertise.

If they don't want ad blockers, then they can't really advertise an ad blocker

Either the company paying for the ad can sue for them take the money while not letting anyone use it on that site, or the video watchers can sue.

And having to do a stupid verification step, instead of being able to sign in with a service, means I'm blocking this site from my News feed.
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