Your Mobile Ad Blocker Will No Longer Stop YouTube's Ads

Photo: photosince (Shutterstock)
Photo: photosince (Shutterstock)

YouTube has become the internet’s go-to library for all things video, but make no mistake, advertisers run this library. YouTube escalated its war against ad blockers on Monday with an update saying the use of mobile ad-blocking apps may result in buffering issues and error messages that read “the following content is not available on this app.”

“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,” said YouTube in a blog post on Monday. “Ads on YouTube help support creators and let billions of people around the world use the streaming service.”

YouTube wants you to know that advertisers make the whole world go round, and the company seems to be blaming ad-blockers for underpaid creators. Mobile users are now on the front lines of YouTube’s war on ad-blockers, who have previously slipped by the company’s efforts to force you into watching its ads. Instead, YouTube is once again encouraging users who want an ad-free experience to shell out $13.99 a month for YouTube Premium.

In October, YouTube made it nearly impossible to watch its website while using an ad blocker. Users were presented with the message, “Video playback is blocked unless YouTube is allowlisted or the ad blocker is disabled.” At the time, the company claimed it had “launched a global effort” to encourage users to watch ads, a YouTube spokesperson told The Verge.

YouTube’s fight against ad blockers dates back to May 2023, when users first started noticing pop-ups stating “Ad blockers are not allowed on YouTube.” At the time, a YouTube spokesperson called this a “small experiment,” but it’s turned into an outright war against tools that make the Internet more bearable. However, ad-blocking tools were quietly allowed to circumnavigate YouTube’s ads for years, so what changed?

In April 2023, Google reported a decline in ad revenue for its second straight quarter. Google’s ad revenue has barely ever declined in the last 20 years, so alarm bells were surely going off at the company’s headquarters. One month later, YouTube’s crackdown on ad blockers commenced.

In its Monday blog post, YouTube says ad blockers violate its terms of service. This may be true, but the continued crackdown seems to have more to do with protecting YouTube’s bottom line than supporting its creator economy.

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