YouTube confirms it has launched a global effort to crack down on ad blockers

Nov 1, 2023

YouTube has confirmed that it has taken efforts to crack down on ad blockers. The news comes via an official statement sent by a company spokesperson to The Verge.

Last month, I wrote about how I began seeing a pop-up that said "Ad blockers are not allowed by YouTube", which was accompanied by instructions to disable the ad blocker to continue using YouTube.

YouTube confirms it has expanded efforts to crack down on ad blockers

Christopher Lawton, YouTube communications manager, told The Verge that the streaming service has upped the ante in its battle against ad blockers. The service began testing the anti-ad blocking measures in July, but this was done on a limited basis, as part of the company's experiments. Lawton says that YouTube is now pushing its efforts globally to counter the use of ad blockers, which he says violates the platform's terms of service. He also mentioned that ads serve as a diverse ecosystem to support YouTube creators globally, while allowing billions of users to access videos.

The problem with these anti-ad blocking rules is that it is far from perfect. YouTube recently detected browsers that were set to block tracking requests as ad blockers, thus preventing the users from accessing the streaming service.

More details emerge about YouTube's anti ad-blocking measures

What happens if you continue using an ad-blocker on YouTube? The developers of the popular add-on, uBlockOrigin, have been burdened by the challenges imposed by Google. The authors explained that YouTube's anti-ad blocking uses a detection script that executes 4 stages of warnings. The first warning is the one that I reported about, a simple pop-up - "ad blockers are not allowed on YouTube" - that can be dismissed. The 2nd warning has a close button that appears after a slight delay. The third warning allows you to open 3 videos, before kicking in the final stage. When stage 4 is executed, YouTube won't display the pop-up, it won't let you watch the video that you wanted either, and instead replaces it with a different video. The good news is, this likely means your account will not be banned. One important part to note is that the detection is account and cookie-based, you know what that means, use YouTube without signing in, or better use it in private browsing / incognito mode.

The Verge reports that one of its staff is unable to access YouTube because their attempts to watch videos were almost always blocked by the service. That does sound scary, but also seems similar to the description of stage 4.

According to recent statements published by the developers of uBlock Origin, YouTube changes its detection scripts twice a day, which makes it difficult to address the problem. You can check if your uBlockOrigin filters are up-to-date, by checking this page made by the plugin's developers, if it says YES (and has a green background), it means the add-on will block YouTube's ads. If it shows NO, and is in Red, well, you need to update uBlock Origin's filters, read our previous coverage to learn more about it. DNS and VPN services, modified HOSTS file, other content blockers and YouTube extensions can also prevent uBlock Origin from blocking the ads, and the anti-ad blocking prompts successfully.

is ublock origin up-to-date to block youtube's anti-ad blocker script

Other options that you can try

You may want also want to check out Fadblock, aka Friendly Adblock for YouTube, which is an extension for Firefox and Chrome, that seeks out ads and skips them instead of blocking them. FreeTube is an open source YouTube client for Windows, macOS and Linux. It is a privacy-friendly app that lets you watch videos without ads, and also has ways to manage your subscriptions. I'd also recommend NewPipe for Android devices, it is a free, open source app that allows you to watch YouTube videos without ads, and even has options to download the videos (or audio only). YT Siphon is an extension that can redirect YouTube videos to play via a third-party frontend called Piped. This privacy-friendly website works across platforms, including iOS.

On a side note, the Enhancer for YouTube add-on has seemingly vanished from Mozilla's AMO. According to a statement posted on the developer's website, the extension has been temporarily pulled from Firefox's add-ons repository, because it no longer works properly due to some changes made by YouTube. The developer says that a huge amount of work is necessary to fix the issues, before releasing the Firefox add-on. Enhancer for YouTube is still available on the Chrome Web Store and Microsoft Store.

YouTube's strategy could drive users away

From a business' perspective, Google is not wrong for wanting money to provide services. The problem is, YouTube has been free, and has allowed - or at least not prevented ad blockers - for a couple of decades. See, when you give something for free, and then take it away from people, they are bound to get angry about it.

Ads are annoying, irrelevant, noisy, time-wasting, data-consuming, battery-draining nuisances that people don't want to see. We don't want to interact with those, that's why we use ad blockers. And of course, add-ons like uBlock Origin also protect your privacy by preventing tracking requests. Sometimes ad networks are abused to spread propaganda, fake news, and even malware. There are tons of reasons why ads are bad, the only ones to ever benefit from them are the advertisers, the publishers (YouTubers), and of course, Google itself.

Personally, I have started using YouTube in its own dedicated Firefox container (instead of the Google container), so can I use it without being signed in. You can use Google in a private browsing window too. It's not a great experience as I lose access to my playlists, subscribed channels, etc., but at least this way my Google account will not be violating any of YouTube's terms and services. I have an annual subscription on Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, and recently picked up a rather cheap deal for Discovery+. Honestly, I don't even have the time to utilize all of these services. I am sure there are many others who are like me. My point is, there are way too many streaming services out there, YouTube isn't the only option for entertainment anymore. And YouTube Premium ain't cheap, chief! It costs $13.99 per month. There is also YouTube TV, which is a separate subscription. YouTube Premium Lite, which was available in some European countries for 6.99€ per month, was discontinued last month.

Preventing people who use ad blockers from using YouTube is a bad idea, as this will only drive them away from the service. This could in turn affect content creators if users stop interacting with the videos on their channel, which might impact the ad revenue that they earn, and of course the cut that Google takes from them. Google should instead highlight the benefits of the YouTube Premium plan, and perhaps improve its offerings, to entice users into buying a subscription. Be nice to users, and maybe they will reward you.

YouTube confirms it has launched a global effort to crack down on ad blockers
Article Name
YouTube confirms it has launched a global effort to crack down on ad blockers
It's official. Google has confirmed it has expanded efforts to crack down on the usage of ad blockers on YouTube.
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  1. Anonymous said on November 28, 2023 at 2:52 pm

    Ads have often been used as a way to spread trojans/backdoors. This will be even more dangerous and exploited alot more if ads are designed to be “unblockable”. Google is making the world more dangerous and exploitable.

  2. Anonymous said on November 4, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    what is the best replacement for Enhancer for YouTube add-on for firefox?
    something that will support:
    – setting the default playback quality
    – enabling dark theme

    without the need to be signed in to google.

  3. Little man, big war. said on November 2, 2023 at 9:16 pm

    YouTube has been free since forever, so what’s changed? Have a billion people all of a sudden started using adblockers? Have the content creators complained about not getting paid enough money? Has the war in Ukraine and Covid forced Google to build a thousand more server farms? Nope. I tell you what has changed: Now enough people use YouTube while logged on their accounts and have extensive playlists and subscriptions they follow. That means it would sting like a motherf*cker to lose all that, so all those billions of people are now ripe to exploit. The anti adblock campaign is just a decoy, a smokescreen. This is exactly what Spotify is doing, enough people are so reliant on their playlists that can now be buttf*cked into oblivion with non-stop higher pricing. If YouTube was free for the next 500 years Google still would make ridiculous amounts of money every year. The revenue they are “losing” is the made up revenue they have now calculated they should get. Like everyone would pay up and shut up, yeah right. Their reasoning is as retarded as a musician that learns his/her new album has been illegally downloaded 2 million times, so they now lost all that money because they assume 2 million people would most certainly buy the album if it wasn’t easily available to download for free. So yeah, that has changed, Googles GREED has increased. Nothing else. My life doesn’t depend on YouTube in any shape or form, if I can’t watch it for free without ads then oh well, I watch something else. Or maybe I’ll even go out for a run instead of getting beady eyes and bedsores in my ever expanding fat ass.

  4. Sebas said on November 2, 2023 at 5:37 pm

    Thanks all for the useful info. Yes, an option is to download the videos. With Brave browser, YouTube, signed in, nearly always works. I have added several content filters to the Shields. Sometimes there is a hiccup, Google saying hello, but after F5 it all works again so far.

    If that doesn’t work any more I will install Floorp. Only wondering how often is it updated?

  5. Scrooge Wallace, freedom fighter said on November 2, 2023 at 7:18 am

    Imagine a site where the content is so good that you gladly pay and as a side-effect see no ads. YouTube is not that site. There’s only so much “girl living in her van”, “are these the best soccer cleats” and 7968 illegal uploads of any music one can take. I will not pay for the vangirls “adventures” so she can buy a huge mansion next week when she stops being a youtuber. I will not pay for the soccercleatdudes next pink Lamborghini. The money these useless people are making from ads is just ridiculous and the fee google wants you to pay is equally ridiculous. It SHOULD be ONE dollar, per YEAR. Until that happens I will block ads. Remember whatsapp used to cost money too, how did that go..

    1. Rex said on November 5, 2023 at 3:31 am

      >Remember whatsapp used to cost money too, how did that go..

      It was a dollar per year, and that too only in a few countries. ‘How did that go’ – did you not know that this was all BEFORE Facebook/Meta bought it and decided to make it free because they’ll make money off selling your data anyway?

    2. penny said on November 2, 2023 at 1:47 pm

      can you not afford $10 lol… your mcdonalds is $15. can you not scale back 1 bigmac combo? youtube music probably has the most music if you really want to compare costs…. always uploaded by the actual artist what you getting at. why would you care about illegal music theres no doubt you dont pay for anything online. tf you guys really crying about watching some ads lol.. or $10… classic outrage culture smh. everyone so spoiled its actually really funny.

      but if you just watch homeless ppl in vans or whatever then ofc just ignore the site lol whats the big deal. just be glad they let you watch your homeless videos as long as they have and move on. for me ad block is still working so i dunno. i mean i skip ads on my tv app it is what it is and probably will pay 10 whole dollars if it inconveniences me. i mean i used to pay for it when i needed the play in background feature on my phone. its not that much brother. and dont tell me its off principle… its off outrage culture your peers are complaining so are you its simple

      1. kaiiela said on November 2, 2023 at 11:55 pm

        It’s more than 10$, also, please realize that as soon as they get enough people signed up, they will keep upping the amount, as they are already doing…

  6. Scroogled said on November 1, 2023 at 9:47 pm

    Glad I don’t use YouTube for much anymore. I mainly listen rather than watch. I can do that on other platforms that don’t treat their users like scums.

  7. TelV said on November 1, 2023 at 8:09 pm

    Well, first and foremost I went to youtube this evening with the intention of finding a video which contains ads. But try as I might I couldn’t find one. I even tried watching the most popular videos on youtube thinking that those are bound to contain an ad or two. But no, nothing showed up and in addition I didn’t see a warning that ad-blockers aren’t allowed on youtube.

    Here’s a pix taken from the History of the sites I visited: [] and as you can see in the background, UBO was enabled.

    So I’m guessing that it’s the browser I’m using that protects me from that advertising crap. The browser in question is a Firefox fork called Floorp. Download from here []. Floorp is very privacy conscious by the way.

    I can only suggest you give it a try because from reading all the comments on here users are obviously frustrated. Needless to say (for the benefit of the uninitiated) you can have more than one browser and don’t have to replace whichever one you use with the one I’m suggesting here so don’t be afraid to give it a try.

    P.S. There are no ‘floating tabs’ in Floorp! Just go to Prefs –> Design. I use the Firefox Photo – Lepton layout.

    1. upp said on November 2, 2023 at 1:02 pm

      Switched to Floorp from FF to, was happy sunce then fuck FF and their politic money wasting bussiness.

      @Martin Give Floorp a review, it’s so freaking great:

      it’s a Japanese made browser, expect it to be high quality and interesting because it’s:

      – Vertical tab + Collapse ??

      – Split screen in half (Tab Tiling) (almost done ??)

      – Sidebar ??

      – Change keyboard shortcuts ??

      – Scan QR to send tab to phone ??

      – Workspace ??

      – Sleeping Tab ??

      – Profile Switcher ??

      And it’s getting PWA while Firefox removed PWA.

  8. arbooz said on November 1, 2023 at 7:00 pm

    “use YouTube without signing in, or better use it in private browsing / incognito mode.” – Or better download the video without trying to play it on YouTube. You’ll watch quietly when you want and without getting upset if a message pops up

    1. bruh said on November 2, 2023 at 11:45 am

      How are you containerising the video and audio from a downloaded youtube video? vp9 and opus (ogg) don’t play ball with each other under normal conditions, youtube uses it’s own player to combine the two. if you don’t have an answer to this then you’re just as uninformed as those watching youtube on youtube.

      1. Cassette said on November 3, 2023 at 2:53 am


        The downloaded YouTube videos play just fine in MPC-HC and I suspect they do on most modern players. Downloaded with yt-dlp, they have a .webm extension and they just play. I may not be as informed as you, but I actually tried it.

      2. bruh said on November 3, 2023 at 10:24 am

        @Cassette if you’re downloading audio+video together on one go then what you’re getting is not the same quality as youtube itself, but is actually slightly lower. There is a re-encoding stage to get the formats into one playable container. Not a major issue but I don’t like to compromise on quality.

        I archive videos and so it’s worth mentioning. Some audio/video players (not mpc-hc, I think) can arbitrarily load external audio for a video file, and allow to play two uncombined files at an uncompromised quality.

      3. Cassette said on November 3, 2023 at 3:11 pm

        @bruh, according to the file information provided in mpc-hc, the video is vp9 and the audio is opus. It’s exactly what you mentioned and in one container. The quality is just fine for casual viewing and you don’t have to deal with advertisements. I’d personally prefer a little compromised quality in exchange for no ads, myself.

  9. Benjamin said on November 1, 2023 at 3:15 pm

    The corporations who control ever larger aspects of the lives, often in cooperation with the governments who rule all of us, are simply to big, rich, large, corrupting, ruthless, profit and power driven to be kind to them It is David against Goliath.

  10. Karl said on November 1, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    Yeah, good question, how should “we” and/or Google solve this. I am part of the youtube critics and of course think ads, tracking etc are bad. Lately I have been getting more and more fed up with what is shown on TV so that I feel I don’t want to watch almost anything anymore. And that is the so called “content” produced these days, not the adverts. The other day on youtube I saw a comment to a video from a channel I watch daily, it was from an 84 year old man, he wrote that this is so much better than all of the crap that is shown on TV these days, I thought, hmm, I wonder how many more have that opinion and find themselvs on youtube more often these days when they not long ago probably watched something on TV, and I said to myself, I am probably one of them. Sometimes we see comments about that youtube is so crappy these days and that Google has destroyed it, IMO, there are many other sites that could be said to be much more crappy than youtube currently is. Sometimes we also see a comment about that it doesn’t matter if youtube dies because it is so crappy. Well, I can not in good faith say that I wouldn’t care at all if youtube dies. Since there is content I do really like and very much enjoy to watch, or listen to of course. And that it is free for me is in no way a negative, epecially since there are so many other fixed costs per month that needs to be paid, I don’t need yet another one! Google could close down youtube tomorrow if they want to. They won’t of course since it is still profitable, I mean if I think that thought, then it would feel like an empty hole, something is missing from my daily routine, a site I visited and used daily for its great uploaded content is gone. I would also feel bad for many content creators I watch since I think it is very high quality and engaging content that they make. I love that we can watch for free and they can upload for free, google hosts it, and both parties can make some money out of it.

    I must say that out of the Big Tech bundle with Meta in a big lead, despite not using any of their services, Google is not one of those companys that I would say that I “hate”, more like “extremely strongly dislike and don’t trust in any way”, they are doing a few (good is the wrong word) let’s say not so bad things concerning the web and its constant developments together with other tech companies about web standards etc, while obviously also pushing some unacceptable shady stuff that we read about on Ghacks and elsewhere concerning our web integrity, tracking, profiling etc. But I feel like using youtube via one of the front ends are a little like eating the cake while wanting to keep it. Clearly want to visit youtube because there is something that you find interesting, but don’t want to “touch” youtube directly. I will continue accessing youtube directly like I always have, as long as it works. Even if Google would make a “promise” that they will stop all tracking, nobody would believe them, for good reasons of course. I am using an ad blocker and it works on youtube, I have not seen an ad on youtube for the past 5+ years, not in a video or elsewhere on the site. Completely clean. But of course there is a business side to it and the ad and tracking crap needs a fix. That’s why we do what we do. Concering online ads in general, they should be like ads in the physical newspaper, they are there, but they don’t show up in the middle of an article and being annoying like they do online, and they also don’t track you from page to page as you turn the pages, they are static and non-tracking. About the “sponsors” that some content creators use, most channels I watch that sometimes have a sponsor do have a sponsor which is more or less related to what the actual content is about, so that stuff has never really bothered me, and since I also do want to show support to the content creator, I always watch through the sponsor block, I never fast forward or skip it, if I would then it feels like I would say: “I love your content but not THAT much so here I skip over your sponsor crap”. Recently, a woman that upload about music, a channel I watch every now and then, said in a video to let her viewers know that the money she makes from her channel is now enough to live on, it took a long while to get enough subscribers but she eventually made it, so now she focus 100% on the channel. If you make content that enough people want and search for, then this can happen. I am happy for her and her channel is only one of hundreds of reasons why I visit youtube. But if you make “TV crap” content then the chance of your channel growing and getting to this level are slim and it will stay in no mans land with 50-100 views. Much of the TV content create big issues with profitability these days, for reasons the execs don’t seem to figure out, yet they broadcast adverts like never before. High salary and crap TV content clearly don’t match. But how do we “fix” the “broken youtube”? Well, like I said, even if google said that they would stop tracking and only show a soundless 10 second ad every 15 minutes, I would not believe them. But that is one thing I could personally live with actually, if they showed a 10 second ad every 15 minute at max, I could “live” with that and could allow it to be shown. I can always close my eyes to not see it. But I will never turn off my anti-tracking, it stays on whereever I go online.

    Not to mention facebook, another place full of ads, tracking and profiling. I have never used Facebook or instagram, don’t have an account. I said in 2009 that I never will create an account with facebook, and I still haven’t. But I sure can put myself into the situation if Facebook would be gone tomorrow, many users would miss it, those that use the site “too much” or if it had bad effects on them would maybe feel “free” and say: I should have left much sooner. Good or bad, all of them would get a break from their usual daily “web habits”. Or the place called “facebook marketplace”, yeah, some of the channels I watch on youtube are about used cars, and I hear this facebook marketplace mentioned every once in a while. I guess it is a place where you sell and buy ALL sort of stuff, so it is used by businesses as well. If that marketplace would be gone, they too would need to find a new similar site. But their latest trick, pay €9 /month for an ad-free experience, but still be tracked around the site like never before?, how anyone can be willing to pay for a site like facebook with their company track-record (no pun intended) is crazy.

    I guess I feel a little like “we” can complain on all sorts of sites and their “bad behavior”, it can be ads, tracking, whatever. But I also can’t help but feel, especially concerning youtube, that the old saying “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” could pop up in some people’s minds if it indeed would be gone one day. Which it won’t since money is not the issue here. Now I really need to end this extremely confusing rant by saying that I do know what I have and I want it to stick around, but that its current owner Google needs to sort their crap out instead of screwing around with youtube’s tech-savvy visitors.

  11. Danniello said on November 1, 2023 at 1:16 pm

    If not mistaken – the majority of market is mobile nowadays. Ad blocking in mobile is almost zero – mobile Chrome is not supporting addons at all.

    PC is for old people, and even there – ad blocking is rather used only by minority of them. So what’s the point?

    1. Karlston said on November 1, 2023 at 7:34 pm

      > PC is for old people, and even there – ad blocking is rather used only by minority of them. So what’s the point?

      Oh please… for a start tell me what’s superior… gaming on a 38″ widescreen monitor coupled with an PC with a grunty GPU, CPU and plenty of memory and storage or… a mobile phone or tablet with a tiny screen and inferior GPU/CPU/memory and storage?

      BTW, I’m a 67 year old person with a home built PC who games for hours a day, co-moderates an online forum, writes complex javascript, and probably has more tech in his house than you. :)

      Oh, and I still watch YouTube videos despite having the YT player blocked. And that’s because of a simple workaround not involving the AdGuard and/or uBO on everything. Hint: private browser tabs.

    2. arbooz said on November 1, 2023 at 7:05 pm

      “Ad blocking in mobile is almost zero” ROTFL. You’re wrong. It’s apparent that you’ve never heard of DNS servers filtering queries to servers with ads.

      “PC is for old people” – again ROTFL .How old are you? 13? Go to work, work on your smartphone.

    3. Tom Hawack said on November 1, 2023 at 1:53 pm


      > PC is for old people, and even there – ad blocking is rather used only by minority of them. So what’s the point?

      If I entirely agree that “ad blocking is rather used only by minority of them [old people]”, on the other hand I linger to define the age of “old people” and, whatever it is, not sure they’d be the only ones to use a PC …

      Now, please, everyone : please reply by mentioning if you use (only or not) a PC together with your age. Addresses (snail & email), phone number(s), various orientations, if you prefer the Beatles or the Stones, Coca or Pepsi, American or Delta airlines is NOT required. Thanks.

    4. Iron Heart said on November 1, 2023 at 1:38 pm


      Let me introduce you to my friends NewPipe with SponsorBlock and YouTube Revanced Extended:


      1. Bravetard said on November 2, 2023 at 7:55 am

        I would use it, but I refused to use any product that has less than 80% market share.

      2. Iron Heart said on November 2, 2023 at 1:04 pm


        gHacks comment section try not to be childish challenge (impossible).

      3. White said on November 1, 2023 at 6:07 pm

        Thanks, iron heart! ???

      4. Danniello said on November 1, 2023 at 3:00 pm

        Yes, I know that there are even mobile browsers that are supporting addons (Firefox), but… almost zero global usage…

        NewPipe is great, but is not available via Android Market. F-Droid and other alternative AppStores have negligible market share.

      5. bruh said on November 1, 2023 at 2:34 pm

        FYI: For Android KitKat there is BraveNewPipe which works amazingly (almost no bugs), much better than normal newpipe – praise to the open source community!

  12. TelV said on November 1, 2023 at 12:28 pm

    Provided you’ve got your own youtube channel you can avoid Google placing ads on your videos by designating them as available for kids.

    Confirmation in the image: []

  13. hoho said on November 1, 2023 at 12:19 pm

    Thx Gooooodog. I can live without your fxxking platform.

  14. Iron Heart said on November 1, 2023 at 11:30 am


    Your article misses out on important options like Invidious, Piped, and YouTube ReVanced.

    May want to update it with these.

    1. Yash said on November 1, 2023 at 3:17 pm


    2. Ashwin said on November 1, 2023 at 2:12 pm

      Good suggestions. I did mention Piped briefly in the post, it’s what YT Siphon uses. YouTube Revanced is good, but I thought some people might get confused about setting it up via Revanced Manager, and they’ll also need to avoid updating the official YouTube app. NewPipe on the other hand is somewhat noob-friendly and requires almost no setup. I use both apps on my Android.

      As for Invidious, I haven’t really checked it since Google hit them with DMCA. There are several good clients like SkyTube, LibreTube (uses Piped), SmartTube (for TV). I didn’t want to confuse readers with too many options, so I just mentioned the tried and tested ones.

  15. Tom Hawack said on November 1, 2023 at 11:11 am

    Are my uBlockOrigin filters are up-to-date? Yes they are. Thanks for the link to the check page.

    Worthy article which summarizes the ‘YouTube-anti-adblockers’ phobia as of today.

    You can try to and maybe even succeed in eliminating terrorism but not sure you can ever wipe terrorism ideology : in the same way YouTube may try to eliminate ad-blockers on its site but not sure it’ll ever succeed in wiping the hatred of advertisement. My opinion is that whatever an anti-adblocker policy is, the problematic will never be resolved with combat as the mean to achieve that but rather with an approach based on intelligence, from both sides : yes, users must understand that some sites need the ad revenue to simply exist, some others to maintain their astronomical financial margins, but the ad business must understand as well that force-feeding ads, moreover when increasing them practically exponentially is not the solution.

    As long as the ad-business will maintain its hysterical development as it is now my advertisement tolerance will remain equal to zero.

  16. bruh said on November 1, 2023 at 11:09 am

    Obviously the best thing is to have it play the advert (but not show video or audio to end user), then an automatic skip happens in background as soon as it is possible. If the advert bandwidth was still streamed, they will never know you didn’t watch it. :)

    1. Iron Heart said on November 1, 2023 at 1:34 pm

      That’s what Fadblock does.

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