YouTube is taking action against third-party apps that block ads YouTube is taking action against third-party apps that block ads
Illustration: Alex Ivanovs // Stack Diary

YouTube is taking action against third-party apps that block ads

YouTube wants to clamp down on the use of third-party apps that block ads. The company is doing this to persuade more people to subscribe to YouTube Premium.

In a recent blog post, YouTube announced its intent to target ad-blocking software. This is likely due to apps like AdGuard that eliminate ads on mobile devices. As noted in the blog post, users utilizing these apps may now encounter error notifications or experience delays during video playback.

YouTube suggests that individuals who prefer an ad-free experience should consider subscribing to YouTube Premium. The company stated, “Third-party apps are only permitted to access our API if they comply with our terms of service. Any app breaching these terms will face measures necessary to safeguard our platform, content creators, and viewers.”

Viewers who are using these third-party apps may experience buffering issues or see the error “The following content is not available on this app” when trying to watch a video.

YouTube has been pushing for more YouTube Premium subscribers for a while. Last year, the platform made moves to disable ad blockers globally, rendering videos inaccessible to those who did not disable their ad blockers or place YouTube on their whitelist. The follow-up was platforms such as Adblock Plus denouncing YouTube’s actions.

Stack Diary has previously written on bypassing YouTube’s stringent policies, though it seems that today’s announcement is YouTube’s first step in trying to limit users’ ability to have an ad-free YouTube experience altogether.

It’s essential to recognize that while many users may oppose YouTube’s recent actions against ad-blocking apps, Google, as a commercial entity, aims to profit from its services. The options for those who prefer an ad-free experience are straightforward: subscribe to a paid service like YouTube Premium or seek alternatives. The absence of viable alternatives may complicate matters.

Still, the emergence of a substantial competitor, such as a fully developed PeerTube instance—which has yet to materialize—could pressure Google to reconsider its pricing strategy. Ultimately, market dynamics will dictate the evolution of these services, potentially leading to more affordable options if there is enough demand for change.