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YouTube is getting serious about blocking ad blockers

YouTube is getting serious about blocking ad blockers


YouTube has confirmed that it has ‘launched a global effort’ to crack down on ad blockers.

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

YouTube is broadening its efforts to crack down on ad blockers. The platform has “launched a global effort” to encourage users to allow ads or try YouTube Premium, YouTube communications manager Christopher Lawton says in a statement provided to The Verge.

If you run into YouTube’s block, you may see a notice that says “video playback is blocked unless YouTube is allowlisted or the ad blocker is disabled.” It also includes a prompt to allow ads or try YouTube Premium. You may get prompts about YouTube’s stance on ad blockers but still be able to watch a video, though, for one Verge staffer, YouTube now fully blocks them nearly every time.

Screenshot by Jay Peters / The Verge

YouTube confirmed that it was disabling videos for users with ad blockers in June, but Lawton described it as only a “small experiment globally” at the time. Now, YouTube has expanded this effort. Over the past several weeks, more users with ad blockers installed have found themselves unable to watch YouTube videos, with a post from Android Authority highlighting the increase in reports.

Lawton maintains that the “use of ad blockers” violates the platform’s terms of service, adding that “ads support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favorite content on YouTube.”

YouTube has made several changes to the way ads operate on its platform this year. The company introduced unskippable 30-second ads to its TV app in May and later began experimenting with longer but less frequent ad breaks on TV, too. YouTube is likely hoping that its lengthy ad breaks drive more users to sign up for its ad-free YouTube Premium subscription, but a $2 price hike and the discontinuation of its cheaper Premium Lite plan might make the option less attractive.