YouTube is cracking down on third-party apps that block ads

YouTube does not accept these ad blockers. Late last year, the company began attacking these anti-ad tools on the desktop: Users with ad blockers enabled while watching YouTube would see a pop-up warning them to disable the tool. If they don't comply, the site will prevent the video from loading, and the ad blocker will effectively become a YouTube blocker.

While the rollout prevents some ad blocking on YouTube, the rollout of the policy will have little impact on mobile users: third-party YouTube apps with built-in ad blockers will still be able to watch videos without issue. At least, so far.

YouTube released a new help page on Monday outlining new rules for enforcement by third-party apps. The company says that going forward, users streaming through one of these apps may experience buffering issues when trying to play videos, or may encounter the error "The following content is not available from this app." Additionally, YouTube said that it will only allow third-party apps to use its API if they comply with its API service terms of service, and that when it discovers that an app violates these rules, it will "take appropriate action to protect [its ] platform”, creators and audiences. "

Look, I understand YouTube's point of view. The company has been running ads on its videos since 2007. (Hey, even trillion-dollar companies need to make a living.) Ads make up the bulk of YouTube's revenue stream, so of course the company will be extra sensitive to those who try to circumvent it. But this is the Internet after all. Many of us choose to browse with ad blockers because some websites abuse the system with intrusive ads and trackers.

If a third-party application wants to use YouTube's API to provide a full YouTube client, they may not have much to do around this problem. If so, they need to remove ad blocking from the feature list. Still, AdGuard says it's exempt here because the company doesn't use YouTube's API. So for now you should be able to bypass this change using the AdGuard app on iOS or Android.

For most of the internet’s history, users have looked for ways to pay for their services. However, the internet of the 2020s appears to be about making these users pay, or contribute to how these companies are paid. YouTube tries to prevent you from watching with an ad blocker, just like Netflix and Disney don't let you watch with someone else's account.

YouTube's official workaround for those who want to watch videos without ads? Subscribe to Premium. Somehow, I don't think this argument convinces many former ad blockers.