YouTube Blocks Ad Blockers, Disables Playback

John Lister's picture

YouTube is trying to stop people who use ad blockers from watching its videos. It could spark a game of whack-a-mole, but it's still created a passionate debate.

Although YouTube appears to have been testing the tighter policy since June, it seems to have significantly increased the number of users affected in recent weeks. Users report seeing a message that reads:

Ad blockers violate YouTube's Terms of Service. It looks like you may be using an ad blocker. Video playback is blocked unless YouTube is allowlisted or the adblocker is disabled. Ads allow YouTube to be used by billions worldwide. You can go ad-free with YouTube Premium and creators can still get paid from your subscription.

"Allowlisted" is another term for whitelisting, where an ad blocker works on all sites except for those specifically exempted by the user. It's the opposite to blacklisting where it only blocks specified sites.

Three Videos 'For Free'

It definitely appears YouTube is still testing the idea as other users have shared screenshots showing they are allowed to watch three videos before they must disable an ad blocker. The messages also include a link for users to report they are in fact not using an ad blocker, suggesting YouTube's detection system may not be perfect.

Some users have already shared ways to bypass the new restrictions. It's also possible some ad blocker developers will try to find a way round.

That's not quite as simple as with some websites as the ads in question play before, during or after a video, rather than being displayed in a dedicated section of the page. The company behind one major ad blocker has already warned users may need to update settings twice a day to continue watching YouTube without ads.

Debate Rages

From YouTube's perspective, the issue is simple. Ads are what make YouTube financially viable, covering both running costs and royalties for video creators. It also offers ad-free viewing for $13.99 a month. (Source:

Some critics either simply refuse to watch ads or pay a fee on principle, while others argue that it's the sheer number of ads on YouTube to which they object, or that the ads are deceptive. Some have also argued they need to run adblockers to stop malicious ads, though "allowlisting" YouTube shouldn't be a problem in that case. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Do you use an adblocker? If so, do you "allowlist" or whitelist sites you trust or support? Is YouTube making a smart move here, regardless of whether they are morally and legally in the right?

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Dennis Faas's picture

The same thing happened to YouTube Music. I used to listen to various radio stations of specific genres and I didn't mind listening to a few ads here and there that were no more than 10-15 seconds long every 5 to 10 songs. To me, this tradeoff was more than acceptable.

A few years later YouTube Music came out with a subscription platform and if you didn't pay for it, you were subjected to ads that lasted a minute or more after every song. Most of the time they played the same ad over and over. This literally sucked the joy out of listening to YouTube music, albeit free with ads. I uninstalled the app and never went back.

Unfortunately, the exact same thing has happened to YouTube in the exact same circumstances.

Having to watch and listen to the sheer number of ads is unbearable, with so many of them being scams. It makes using YouTube unwatchable unless you're paying for it - almost as if the ads are being jammed down your throat. To me, it's definitely not worth $15 a month, which is around the same price as Netflix. I'd gladly pay $5 a month, however.

After some testing, I do know how to get around the ads. It's not a perfect scenario, but after testing for a few weeks, I know it works (for now). Anyone interested?

gilvoice's picture

The very reason I cut cable. And football. Just to damn many ads

Unrecognised's picture

How is it done?

daniel k_8060's picture

Sure i'm interested. :)

dbrumley3077's picture

I'm curious as to how many YouTube users would be interested in this. Most of my "use" is when I run across a video on Facebook or some such that happens to originate from YouTube.

Chief's picture

CNN was that way when they first premiered circa 1980.
Ads were the same over and over.
Generally either Slim Whitman or Boxcar Willie.
At least now we have options...

ehowland's picture

use invidious dot io

In the USA go to vid dot puffyan dot us (replace DOT with a period)

Other counties go to main site and find out what is host for your country, this is just an ad free You Tube interface.

On FireTV (and android cell) check out "smart-tube" (not on play store, must side load)

Draq's picture

Here's my take on it.

I don't mind ads if they're not intrusive and don't otherwise negatively impact my experience. I run an ad blocker because websites are so full of ads these days that it can seriously affect performance, and also because malvertising is a real threat. It doesn't matter if browsers try to automatically block single ads that may be a problem, because there are often multiple ads per page. It's all about performance for me, not getting everything for free.

As far as YOuTube goes, the ads can be annoying, especially if they interrupt a video in places where it doesn't make sense for ads to interrupt it. You know how TV shows have commercial breaks? That's how ads should be placed. Granted, that's not so easy to do if a video has no breaks for ads. I did turn off my ad blocker just to see how bad the ads would be, and I immediaetly said hell no when an ad interupted speaking in the middle of a sentence. That's not acceptable and I won't tolerate that crap.

If people can afford to pay for premium and they find it useful that's great, but I don't watch videos on YOuTube often enough to justify spending that much money to make the ads go away on videos I watch every so often. If they want people to turn off ad blockers, they need to stop being annoying. Then again, I suspect that most people will comply or pay for premium, so not enough will care to make a difference. That's just how this usually works. I'll be surprised if it turns out differently.

Unrecognised's picture

Fuck you, youtube

Unrecognised's picture

Allow me to draw your attention to the following:, which phenomenon pertains to not only youtube, but other 'platforms' as well.