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Are your YouTube videos glitching? It could be your ad blocker

Although YouTube has been cracking down on ad blockers, the service claims the glitch is caused by something else.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
YouTube videos
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

YouTube and ad blockers seem to mix like oil and water. On Monday, several Reddit users reported problems trying to play YouTube videos with an ad blocker enabled, as reported by The Independent.

One Redditor said that playing or replaying a video would immediately take them to the end of it, while pressing anywhere in the timeline would result in the video never loading. If they disabled the ad blocker, the video would run fine. Another person on Reddit reported no sound when trying to play a video with an ad blocker turned on. Adjusting the volume would restore the audio, but then it would mute again.

The problem doesn't appear to be universal. I tried playing several YouTube videos in Chrome, Edge, and Firefox with the AdBlock extension enabled and didn't run into any video or audio glitches.  

Also: YouTube's new AI-powered 'Jump Ahead' feature lets you skip to the good part

In the past, YouTube has condemned ad blockers in no uncertain terms, arguing that turning off ads violates its terms of service and keeps video creators from being rewarded for views. The company has even stated that videos might not play properly with an ad blocker enabled. You could run into buffering issues when trying to watch the video, or receive an error message that prevents you from viewing the video at all.

All that said, YouTube has pinned the blame for the latest series of glitches on an "unrelated" effort.

"Ad blockers violate YouTube's Terms of Service, and we've been urging users for some time to support their favorite creators and allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience," a YouTube spokesperson told ZDNET. "An unrelated push to improve YouTube's performance and reliability may be resulting in suboptimal viewing experiences for ad blocker users."

Whatever the reason, YouTube clearly won't play nicely with ad blockers. So what can YouTube users do? If you use an ad blocker, you can add YouTube to the allow list so that the ads still appear. If you're a diehard YouTube user, another option is to pay for YouTube Premium, which removes all advertising. A Premium subscription will run you $13.99⁠ per month after a two-month free trial.

No one likes ads, but they pay for content on the internet and other types of entertainment. You can get something for free or at a low cost, but you'll often have to sit through a bunch of advertisements. Want to go ad-free? You'll have to cough up the cash for the privilege.

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