YouTube is cracking down on adblock users: pay or disable


YouTube has introduced an anti-adblock feature, which alerts users with pop-ups and interrupts the viewing experience. The adblocking community is already working on ways to defeat the feature, but YouTube seems to be changing its detection scripts constantly.

Users trying to view a YouTube video with an adblocker enabled are now greeted with a pop-up warning.

“Adblockers are not allowed on YouTube,” the warning reads. “You can go ad-free with YouTube Premium, and creators can still get paid from your subscription.”

The buttons below give users two options: either allow ads or choose a paid subscription. However, for now, closing the alert allows viewing the video.

Complaints about YouTube’s actions have started appearing on social media, as many people use adblockers for limiting trackers and other privacy-intruding scripts. Security researchers have been urging users to restrict exposure to ad networks for a while now because they’re often used to deliver spyware such as Pegasus.

“Awfully brave of YouTube to think I'm gonna stop using AdBlock before I stop using YouTube,” one X user shared.

Others encouraged resistance against YouTube’s new measure by leaving adblocking solutions enabled: “If you show Google that you are willing to forgo your adblocker for YouTube, they will make this new adblock ban a permanent change.”

An ad-free YouTube Premium subscription costs users $13.99 per month.

Adblocking community working on a workaround

The adblocker provider AdBlock Plus says that YouTube’s wall is “particularly distressing to many of our users.” Some of them are unhappy that many ads on YouTube include “obvious scams” that stay afloat even after reporting them to Google.

For now, AdBlock Plus recommends that users keep their filter lists up to date so that any changes made by the filter list authors are applied to their extensions. They can also add YouTube to their allowlists, which will continue blocking ads elsewhere but allow them when watching the popular website.

The uBlockOrigin adblocker already has a workaround offered on its subreddit page. For that, users have to update the extension and its filter with quick fixes to the latest version.

The post also warns that stacking multiple adblockers or using old block lists won’t help.

“Disclaimer: YouTube changes their detection scripts twice a day, which means that even if you got a filter update earlier today, another one might be required soon. There's no way around this if you want to remain logged in,” the post reads.

Some X users also shared filters for the adblocker to turn off the new YouTube feature.

Ads are a significant attack vector

Blocking malicious ads with adblocking software is an essential component of good cybersecurity hygiene and is recommended by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Malvertising is a significant vector for exploiting networks as it bypasses built-in browser settings to protect against pop-ups and website redirects. Malicious ads can generate a forced redirect or deliver a malicious payload.

“Adblocking software prevents different types of ads from displaying or removes them altogether, reducing the risk of receiving malicious advertisements or being redirected to malicious websites. A common adblocking technique uses web browser extensions that allow organizations to customize and control how online advertisements appear. CISA encourages organizations to evaluate solutions that would allow the ability to block a malicious advertisement,” the organization writes in its recommendations.

However, YouTube is not stepping back and insists that users will receive multiple notifications urging them to cease using the tools – or subscribe to YouTube Premium – before their viewing is disrupted, The Verge reported.

“We take disabling playback very seriously and will only disable playback if viewers ignore repeated requests to allow ads on YouTube,” Google spokesperson Oluwa Falodune’s mail to The Verge reads. “In cases when viewers feel they have been falsely flagged as using an adblocker, they can share this feedback by clicking on the link in the prompt.”

To find out more about DNS filtering solutions, you can check out this CyberNews experiment.


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Comments

Crystal
prefix 6 months ago
I watch YouTube videos all the time all the time for fun and I listen to stories on YouTube while I do other projects on my computer. But today, I have been unable to watch videos on YouTube because of the evil adblockers ban thinking I have an AD Blocker on YouTube, which I DO NOT! I HAVE A YOUTUBE ACCOUNT THAT I DO VIDEOS ON FOR FUN!!! AND NOW THEY ARE MAKING US PAY FOR PREMIUM?!?!?!?!?!?!? I WANT THIS TO STOP RIGHT NOW!!!!
Aditya K
prefix 6 months ago
Use Opera and enable "block trackers" and "Block ads" in it. The ad will not play. Even if it plays there will directly the "skip" option. If this does not work first time, just refresh the page and most probably you will not get any ad.
Cas van Dijck
prefix 7 months ago
Had a "disabled playback" yesterday, installed an ad blocker which worked for half an hour, then gave up. This morning I had forgotten about that, went to youtube - and it played as normal. No warning or countdown whatsoever.


Gandog
prefix 7 months ago
For some reason I can get away with using a couple of add blockers on the phone. None as of current on computer. ABP was working on and off until about 24 hours ago give or take... Let us know if use find a workaround or I might need to just download the songs I like lol..
radiantor
prefix 7 months ago
Youtube acts like it is the only video platform on the net. The more YT restricts content, censors, defunds and punishes users, the more opportunity for other platforms to grab user base.
Kevin McCarthy
prefix 7 months ago
What's interesting that I cannot get a family plan for youtube. Google decided I was a business because I have a personal domain. Business accounts are not allowed family plans on Youtube Premium.

And, even if the adblocker is on your browser, but disabled, it still won't play the video, even with ads.
gridsleep
prefix 7 months ago
Just delete all "youtube" and "google" cookies, log back into Youtube and you will be ready to go. You see, cookies are actually an economically acceptable virus that are allowed to infect your computer for the benefit of companies. That's the only way someone like Youtube can control what happens in your computer. Delete the cookies and that control vanishes. Simply delete the cookies each session and Youtube's advertising paradigm crumbles. Like a cookie. Did you CC what I did there?
Michael Lakeman
prefix 8 months ago
I feel that ALL ads are irrelevant - to myself anyway. The trouble is Youtube content has become indispensible to me - from help fixing things to all manner of interesting items on my hobbies.
I don't watch adverts on tv. We are lucky enough to have the best licence funded broadcaster on the planet - the BBC, and everything else I watch after recording.
Is Youtube worth paying for to get rid of ads - well possibly, but I believe YT still transmits some ads.
If the price was more reasonable and there was a guarantee of no ads I would be very tempted.
Just hoping the ad blocking companies can deal with YT's crackdown.
Brendan
prefix 8 months ago
Oh no. It's soooo sad. The rich won't get richer. So sad. So tragic. Oh nooooooooooooooooooo.
Neo
prefix 8 months ago
You know you can own part of a Google stock for as low as $10?
Aaron
prefix 8 months ago
I'm not sure what to do about this. I got my first "3 strike" warning yesterday evening, and I immediately opened Ghostery and clicked "trust youtube.com". YouTube successfully showed me ads. A few hours later, I got another "3 strike" warning despite the menu bar showing Ghostery was still inactive.

I reported the error, but because their screenshot tool doesn't capture the menu bar, it doesn't actually prove that Ghostery was grayed out. Plus, knowing Google, who knows if anyone will read my message, let alone help me?

Now I'm afraid to use YouTube on my computer at all, because clearly their software is prone to false positives, and depending on how they count it, I'm only 1-2 false positives away from being banned entirely.
Kevin McCarthy
prefix 7 months ago
I was just told that if you have an adblocker on your browser at all... not just disabled... you can't use Youtube anymore. That's from a youtube employee in chat
T Matt
prefix 8 months ago
This block is seems to be fair ever think about if u did not pay the membership will u ever gonna enjoy the videos u watched? If u not willing to pay easy don’t watch . Get a job and pay for the membership.
uBlock
prefix 8 months ago
Didn't even take an hour for adblockers to block this popup like it never even existed, nice try though YouTube nice try.
Jsm
prefix 8 months ago
Just continuously report that you're not using a blocker.
BenQ
prefix 8 months ago
Well perhaps there's a bright side: It's been near impossible for anyone to compete with youtube... until now.
Manymicehere
prefix 8 months ago
I disabled JavaScript for Twitter. I won't be controlled by musk. Letting YouTube go is obviously next.
Vivio
prefix 8 months ago
Came in free, now they want to milk users. Seems unfair to me it wasn't like that from the start.
It basically says, go elsewhere.
TherealtruthTechnology
prefix 8 months ago
Hahahahah Youtube Revanced is real.
Yorkshire Man
prefix 8 months ago
What really boils my piss about this obvious attempt at robbing the viewers, is that, if I use my phone or tablet to view on my data plan, I am already paying to watch as it costs me for the data they waste with their shite ads. I will keep using adblockers until they no longer work then I’ll switch to another platform and YouTube can shove its head up its own arse.
Fjdbdhdhhd
prefix 8 months ago
Dropping Adblock for YouTube (or any site) is a huge security risk and one I'm not willing to make.
andrew
prefix 8 months ago
if they disable ad blockers then they should pay for any damages done by malware that came from ads on their network.
Igor Berezin
prefix 8 months ago
Chicken or the egg. There will always be programers that will find a way to bypass detection and block ads. While youtube will keep looking for ways to detect them. This war will go on forever and will solve nothing at all but create jobs on both sides. So let them block it only creates better outlook for the ambitious.
Hogweed
prefix 8 months ago
One solution would be to start telling all the creators to upload their content to other sites, I know i will not use utube if forces me to watch commercials. So many other platforms, just need many more content creators to start using them, in addition to utube, but over time, they may see their numbers decline as more people abandon utube for better platforms.
Max
prefix 8 months ago
I love piracy because I grew up poor. I'd argue to fight against ABC because Google monitors were I go through maps on a minute to minute basis. They don't need another $100/yr from me.
arcam
prefix 8 months ago
It was bad enough when ads were every three videos, you watch a short ten min video roughly same content length of a sitcom accounting for intro/outro. Then it became every video, then it became two-three ads a video or even more, then it became ads even if the creator didn't want any ads or couldn't monetize because of content. Where does it end? How much of my data does google need? How much of my data does google not have? It's genuinely infurating and I wish there were more platforms to give them some competition, YT is already an awful platform and it just got a few pounds worse.
J Smith
prefix 8 months ago
It's not a good service for the advertisers. Most of my ads are businesses they mined from my Gmail, ie, no help to them I already shop there. Waste of an ad buy to reach current customers. Plus, too many. 1:34 of ads on a 4:56 video is so excessive, it just makes me want to walk away. Not worth $14 monthly either.
Pistol
prefix 8 months ago
Youtube still makes billions a year. I'm not paying for a damn thing. No one should have to just pay not to have ads. They are greedy and that's all it boils down to. If some required premium services then they can pay for premium content. But no one should pay YouTube a damn thing. They aren't hurting at all for money.
Junkadunka
prefix 8 months ago
Youtube Premium is the one subscription i pay without regret. These days i see almost all my documentaries on yt and with one of the few streaming apps that just work on all devices, i think it is worth the subscription. All the others i have cancelled, downloading to my place server instead.
Cosmin
prefix 8 months ago
All that would change in few months. Either creator will stop post on this shity site or google will see that you only watch documentaries and charge you extra... Because they can and you accept it already to pay them for watching something (they did not produce) the way was intended to: without ads!
Boba Lazarević
prefix 8 months ago
I was thinking going Premium for the same reasons as Junkadunka, but you're right. Google is the most fickle company there is. Can't be trusted for anything.
Cindy
prefix 8 months ago
Google made $13 billion last year, they put multiple ads on a fifteen minute video, but creators still need patreon and sponsorships to survive because Google gives them so little of the ad revenue from thier own videos. Then they raised the price of premium on top of all of that.

It's corporate extortion. Use any adblocker you like, and open videos in a private tab. Simple as that. And support the creators you like on patreon. Screw shareholder greed.
Max S
prefix 8 months ago
I can't see how anyone thinks YT is in a place where they can win on this one. There are many other platforms that do what YT has been much better than YT. They scrambled to come up with a TikTok style solution to compete with TT and they are still struggling to make up money from the loss of ad revenue.
I don't use TT or SC or any of the others. I do use YT maybe a few times per month but I won't disable my ad blocker ever. The commercials they feed into videos are more than I care to watch. I do watch videos on Rumble when I find them and they have videos that were first published on YT. That platform doesn't bug you about adblock and pays the creators better.
AnthonyHall
prefix 8 months ago
Youtube shouldn't force anyone to do anything to their browser that is unsafe. Youtube ads have historically been unsafe and problematic.
NerdAl
prefix 8 months ago
For the amount of time I use YouTube, it is fair to pay for their services. What I do not agree with is the cyberbullying way this is implemented. In most blockers, you can make exceptions for YouTubers you subscribe to. But, no matter what, ads are a cancer that is being used to support a business model that is not sound to begin with. Let's face it, YouTube as part of Google is a gigantic organization. The cost of hosting, and maintaining, datacenters with data that is decades old is extremely costly and only growing faster and faster. It has become clear, over the past two years, that advertisers are leaving some of the platforms. Some claim that end-users block their ads, and others are going out of business. Good cyber hygiene needs to be maintained by the OS and the Browsers. This is why the business model is flawed. The amount of times (I work at a cybersecurity company) we see our "eye in the sky" catch attacks is scary.
Logans_Speedrun
prefix 8 months ago
The information they have regarding their users are enough to pay for ads.
Passel Bonsai
prefix 8 months ago
This is one of the few cases where I can say simply get a subscription. YouTube is a tremendous resource, creating more freely available content then any other streaming platform on the planet. Nothing comes for free. If you enjoy YT and want to support your creators, get premium.
Boba Lazarević
prefix 8 months ago
But that money won't go to creators. Everybody knows YouTube pays them peanuts.

Those precious few that do earn big money from YouTube, like "Mr Beast" and "Pew Die Pie", I don't care about at all.
Clive
prefix 8 months ago
99.9% of the content is dross, reaction videos, tutorials that are useless, hacks that are clear lies, moronic accounts that think they are "real" news programmes. If it's quality that is the cost then Youtube should be paying it's users
I just don't know man.
prefix 8 months ago
See, the thing is, I and more other people would gladly pay if Google were more lax in the subscription price. If they made it something like 1.99€/month for 1080p and 2.99€/month for 4K and 6.99€/month for 4K and Music, much more people would buy. I mean, you literally have people spoofing their location to buy a subscription in countries where they can pay as little as possible. Instead they ramp up the prices, stuff even more nauseating ads and expect people to buy. Uh, no. Almost every online service works as a subscription nowadays and people have to make choices. Some people pay Microsoft Office, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Drive, and maybe Spotify. Sum all of that a month and then on top of that put your gym, your mortgage or rent, electricity, etc. It's way too much, and people want to save money. Nothing wrong with saving money. It's what my parents and grandparents use to do and tell us all the time as a kid but seems an impossible feat these days.
John Constantinides
prefix 8 months ago
Anyone who uses ad blockers now violates Google's Terms of Services; as a result hundred million users across the globe will see their accounts being terminated if they refuse to comply.

But Google is not alone for applying such a tough policy against ad blocking. Spotify first came up into the scene in 2019 and there's no doubt other tech giants followed the suit.
BespokeAntelope
prefix 8 months ago
I wouldnt mind this if ads werent so cancerous. I just found out both I and a coworker were recorded by secret shoppers calling the business I work for tied to a banner ad we put up offering "analytics". One of these called wasted almost 6 minutes of a coworkers time. My boss didnt even know this was happening. These parasites can fuck straight off, I'm pretty sure it's illegal to record someone and send it to their boss without consent. If YT maintains this policy I will just stop watching vids on their platform.
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