Youtube to Block Apps that Block its Ads

John Lister's picture

YouTube says it will completely block third-party apps that show its videos with ads removed. It's the latest move in a crackdown on ad blocking that's provoked heated debate.

The company has previously attempted to stop ad blocking in web browsers tools such as add-ons or extensions. These crackdowns have had mixed results, with some ad blocker developer continuing to stay one step ahead in a game of cat and mouse.

Now YouTube has turned its attention to third-party apps that show videos from the site. This is done perfectly legally through an API, a software tool that websites can make available so that other sites and services can access their data. The company's theory is that making videos available through the API expands their reach and thus boosts the audience for ads.

Intentional Buffering

One of the key rules of YouTube's API is that sites which use it are banned from blocking ads that would normally show on YouTube or if the video was embedded in a website. Now the company plans to enforce that through technical measures. Apps which try to show YouTube videos but block ads may now be unable to play the video. The playback may buffer or the player may show a YouTube error message saying it is unavailable.

YouTube added that: "[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, and Ads on YouTube help support creators and let billions of people around the world use the streaming service. We also understand that some people prefer an entirely ad-free experience, which is why we offer YouTube Premium." (Source:

Ad Placement Slammed

Critics of the move generally accept YouTube is well within its rights to stop ad blocking and limit or withdraw access to the API. However, some say YouTube should do a better job in how it inserts ads in video, particularly in ads which appear midway through at awkward times, sometimes cutting a speaker off mid-sentence.

Others claim they would be happy to pay a small fee for ad-free access but don't want to pay the full cost of YouTube Premium as they aren't interested in its other features such as the music library or downloading videos.

Privacy rights groups have also questioned whether YouTube is doing enough to block ads which track user behavior. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Do you use third-party apps to watch YouTube? Is it right to crack down on ad blocking? Is YouTube Premium worth the cost to remove ads?

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (8 votes)


Dennis Faas's picture

I'll never pay for Youtube premium and will continue to block their ads with extensions like uBlock Origin, Adlock, and Adblock Plus. Note that these are technically not the same as what is being referred to in this article since they are addons to Chrome, but I'm willing to bet it won't be too far in the making that Youtube will be blocking those as well (in which case, I'll just stop using Youtube).

olds97_lss's picture

I'm kind of surprised you haven't run into issues yet when using those. When I used things like those, the player wouldn't work for me at all in firefox. I use a tampermonkey add on with script now, which appears to work and gets occasional updates.

topgum's picture

Ads slow down my computer. Ads slow me down. TV ads used to take up 15% of a show now you are lucky to see 42 minutes of an hour of programming. YouTube programs ads are often 30-40% of the time spent viewing NO THANKS