The Google-owned service is stopping viewers who are actively running ad blockers from watching clips on its site. On October 31, Google confirmed to The Verge it had "launched a global effort" to stop the use of these tools on YouTube.
If YouTube detects an ad-blocking software, it will show you a pop-up message and stop playback of a video.
The alert reads: "Ad blockers are not allowed on YouTube." It also states that ads are an essential part of the service, and the only way to remove them is to pay a £12 monthly subscription for YouTube Premium.
You then have one of three options: You can either choose to allow YouTube ads (which will prompt YouTube to show you instructions on how to disable the ad blocker on the site), sign up to YouTube Premium, or ignore the message.
If you disregard the alert, YouTube will let you watch several videos before showing you the notification again. It will typically disable playback after three strikes for those that don’t heed the warnings.
Ad blockers are tools that essentially hide or remove ads from websites. Some of them come bundled inside other software, such as VPNs that cloak your internet activity or privacy-oriented web browsers.
After years of turning a blind eye to ad blockers, it appears that YouTube has wised up to them.
The move is likely to divide users of the video platform. Ads are the lifeblood of free online services, including publishers and social media sites. The same goes for YouTube, which relies on ad revenue to keep its content-packed servers running, and to reimburse its horde of creators.
However, others will simply be averse to adverts on the web and will continue to seek ways to block them.
This camp will likely point to the abundance of ads online as intrusive eyesores. In the case of YouTube, these ads are usually shown before a video starts, and during the course of a clip. The platform has also tested out showing up to 10 unskippable ads during longer videos, much to the chagrin of some viewers.
How to avoid YouTube's ad blocker ban
The Adblock Reddit page is one of the best places to head for up-to-date advice on how to dodge YouTube's ad blocker ban. And it's up-to-date information you need as Google is likely to hunt down methods to avoid its ad-blocker ban with alacrity. It can visit Reddit to see what methods people are using, after all.
Reddit's current suggestion is to use the uBlock Origin ad blocker, which is free to download.
You may also need to clear your browser's cache and cookies, typically found in the privacy area in a browser's settings menu.
Will that necessarily work by the time you read this? No. As one Reddit thread notes, "YouTube changes their detection scripts twice a day."