Woman promoting beauty products on YouTube

YouTube launches “global effort” to block ad blockers

The ongoing struggle between YouTube and ad blockers is turning users into the victims.

YouTube has gone all out in its fight against the use of add-ons, extensions and programs that prevent it from serving ads to viewers around the world. It started out as just a small experiment, but it looks like the company has opened the floodgates for most users now.

A spokesperson for YouTube told Engadget:

“We’ve launched a global effort to urge viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad free experience. Ads support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favorite content on YouTube.”

On a support page, YouTube says that if you use ad blockers, you’ll be asked to allow ads on YouTube or sign up for YouTube Premium. If you continue to use ad blockers, YouTube may block you from watching videos at all.

Now, users are flocking to places like Reddit to complain about YouTube’s hardened stance against ad blockers.

Privacy expert Alexander Hanff has filed a complaint with the Irish DPC (Data Protection Commission) about YouTube’s ad block blocking. Hanff says that YouTube needs permission to detect adblockers because by doing so it’s looking at something that is on the visitor’s system. In his complaint, Hanff demands that YouTube stop its anti-ad blocking policy, saying some experts call it “illegal”

The DPC is the Irish supervisory authority for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), so any outcome of this complaint might only cause changes for EU residents. We have reported about plans to introduce ad free services by Meta, TikTok, and YouTube as a way to circumvent EU rules that require platforms to get users’ consent in order to show them targeted ads.

Watch out for fakes

With all this going on, users should be extra careful about downloading new ad blockers that claim to circumvent YouTube’s blocking. Oftentimes we’ll see miscreants trying to rip off users by launching non-functional products and promoting potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).

There are many examples of fake ad blocker extensions in the Chrome Web Store that we would advise against installing.

Browser Guard

As you may know, Malwarebytes Browser Guard has a built-in ad blocker. If you still need to access an important site but you’re being asked to disable your ad blocker, you can do this by clicking on the blue M logo in your browser taskbar and set the Ad/Trackers to be disabled for that site.

Browser Guard blocking on www.YouTube.com

Browser Guard blocks two entities on www.youtube.com

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Pieter Arntz

Malware Intelligence Researcher

Was a Microsoft MVP in consumer security for 12 years running. Can speak four languages. Smells of rich mahogany and leather-bound books.