YouTube mutes or skips to the end of videos for users with ad blockers

Are you having trouble watching YouTube videos lately? It may be because you are using ad blocking software. YouTube users who have ad blocking software turned on report that when they try to watch a video on the service, it may suddenly mute or skip to the end instead of playing normally.

Users reported the strange behavior in a Reddit thread posted on Monday. The original poster shared a screenshot of a Gamers Nexus video that automatically skips to the end. That user then tries to play the video again from a random point only for the video to immediately end again. The mute issue also affected some users, with one person reporting that he could only hear the audio of a video if he constantly adjusted the volume.

Apparently, this is intentional on YouTube’s part.

“Ad blockers violate YouTube’s Terms of Service, and we’ve been urging users for some time to support their favorite creators and allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience,” a YouTube spokesperson said. YouTube by email. “An unrelated push to improve YouTube performance and reliability may be resulting in suboptimal viewing experiences for ad blocker users.”

The issue is most common for AdBlock Plus users, as well as ad blockers built into browsers like Opera GX. As of Tuesday, users reported that many ad blockers have been updated to fix the issue. Users also said they did not experience the issue on uBlock Origin.

The latest in the war against ad blockers

This news is part of a crackdown announced last month in which YouTube said it would make third-party ad blockers harder to use. At the time, YouTube said viewers using ad blocking could expect buffering issues or errors saying “the following content is not available in this app” when trying to watch YouTube videos with ad blocking enabled. . The streaming giant did not mention skipped or muted videos.

This battle is not new. About four months ago, users received notices that ad blockers violated YouTube’s terms of service and were told they had to allow ads to continue. Other users reported that YouTube managed to completely bypass ad blockers and force ads to play even with blockers installed.

YouTube has also spent time trying to make ads less annoying for users. YouTube and Google Chrome already automatically block ads that are longer than 31 seconds and have stopped allowing mid-roll advertising on videos that are 8 minutes or less. Ads that take up more than a third of the video have also been removed.

People still want ad blockers

The use of ad units has been increasing steadily for over a decade. More than 20 million people used this technology in 2009. In 2021, that number skyrocketed to 586 million, due in large part to the increased availability of ad blockers on mobile phones. As of 2024, a recent study claims that more than 50% of Americans use ad blocking in some way.

A YouTube crackdown on ad blocking in 2023 reportedly resulted in a record number of people uninstalling ad blockers. Ad unit creators quickly released updates to prevent the change.

Users have cited many reasons for using ad blocking, including improving their internet experience by avoiding pop-ups and intrusive ads. Security and privacy are also often cited, especially in the wake of malicious advertising that can sometimes appear even on trusted websites.