Unless you’re paying for YouTube Premium, there’s no official way around ads on YouTube. So, viewers have used ad blockers as a workaround. That’s worked for years. However, it seems that YouTube’s cracking down on ad blockers. YouTube announced its working on a tool that will prevent viewers using ad blockers from watching videos on the platform.

YouTube’s currently testing the ad blockering tool

YouTube is specifically testing a tool that will disable videos for viewers after repeated use of ad blockers. Some viewers have noticed a prompt warning stating that the video would be cut off if they don’t disable their ad blockers. In a statement given to BleepingComputer, YouTube said, “We’re running a small experiment globally that urges viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium.” 

Additionally, according to The Verge, Google spokesperson Oluwa Falodun spoke to them via email, stating, “take disabling playback very seriously, and will only disable playback if viewers ignore repeated requests to allow ads on YouTube.”

YouTube didn’t specify which areas they are currently conducting this test and how many users are receiving the prompts. YouTube assured that if a user is falsely flagged, they can share the feedback on the link they can see on the prompt.

A necessary step for YouTube

YouTube reminded its users that ads allow videos to be free for consumption by billions of people worldwide. Ads also compensate creators who dedicate time and effort to making free videos on the platform. It is also against YouTube’s TOS to use ad blockers. 

The company insisted that if viewers want the ad-free experience, they should subscribe to Premium instead. YouTube Premium doesn’t only remove ads, it allows subscribers to download videos offline for a monthly subscription of $11.99.

This crackdown from YouTube isn’t necessarily surprising. The company started blocking ad blockers back in May as a way to subscribe to Premium. Google also shut down a YouTube third-party ad-blocking app last year. The crackdown could be due to Google’s reported decrease in ad revenue.