YouTube’s war against adblock users enters the next phase

  • YouTube is now cracking down on mobile viewers with adblock apps installed.
  • If you watch YouTube with an app that blocks ads, you may see a warning message that the video is unavailable.
  • This is the latest in the platform’s ongoing battle to get viewers to rid themselves of blockers and rather subscribe to YouTube Premium.

If YouTube’s ongoing war against adblock software was a real one, the latest from the company would be called Operation: Mobile Cheapskate. On Monday, YouTube said in an official support update that it was “strengthening” its enforcement on third-party apps that violate its Terms of Service, “specifically ad-blocking apps.”

It said that viewers of YouTube who use third-party apps that block ads can experience buffering issues or see an error message “The following content is not available on this app” when trying to watch a video.

Seeing as users who install apps to block ads (like AdGuard and others) are usually on mobile, this latest crackdown will mostly affect mobile users. Desktop users who run adblockers as browser extensions are already seeing content throttled by YouTube, which has been doing so openly for most of 2024 so far.

“We want to emphasize that our terms don’t allow third-party apps to turn off ads because that prevents the creator from being rewarded for viewership, and Ads on YouTube help support creators and let billions of people around the world use the streaming service,” YouTube explains.

“We only allow third-party apps to use our API when they follow our API Services Terms of Service, and when we find an app that violates these terms, we will take appropriate action to protect our platform, creators, and viewers.”

It says that if users want to enjoy an ad-free experience on YouTube, they should just subscribe to YouTube Premium for a monthly fee.

Completely blocking access to videos is something that has yet come to all adblockers, but YouTube is forcing video watchers on desktop who use adblock software to “experience suboptimal viewing.”

It is possible that it could be doing this to slowly make the experience completely untenable, to where a user will just rid themselves of an adblocker altogether – similar to the technique for how Spotify gains subscribers.

Officially, YouTube says it is fighting adblockers because skipping ads takes away from the company’s ability to pay creators on its platform. The platform’s owner, Alphabet, has a market cap of $1.71 trillion.

[Image – Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash]


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