YouTube has reportedly slowed down its desktop site for users as part of its effort to fight adblockers on the site, Android Central reports.
Reddit user (u/vk6_) shared a video showing a five-second delay experienced when trying to load videos on Firefox. They also demonstrated a method to sidestep the delays.
The Redditor temporarily switched to a Chrome browser disguise and tricked YouTube into thinking they weren’t on Firefox. The video loaded instantly.
However, several sources have since found that the delays also happen in Chrome.
“Chrome is also prone to this, just way less often (?), this could simply be a bug with new adblocking detection filter (or intended behaviour, who knows),” said Twitter (now X) user @uwukko.
Another possible explanation, reported by Android Authority, is that Google is testing the mechanism with certain accounts marked as being ad blocker users and began its testing on non-Chrome browsers.
Several users spotted a code snippet in YouTube’s source code, which indicates that the delays are part of YouTube’s anti-ad-blocking measures.
Redditor vk6_ refuted speculation that the issue was specific to Mozilla Firefox users. The code snippet adds a built-in delay mechanism that halts video playback for five seconds.
Several Firefox and Microsoft Edge users have reported delays even when they haven’t enabled extensions like ad blockers.
They found that the five-second delay occurs every time a YouTube link is opened in a new tab.
A YouTube spokesperson told Android Central that the slowdowns revolve around its anti-ad-blocker efforts.
“To support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favourite content on YouTube, we’ve launched an effort to urge viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience,” they said.
“Users who have ad blockers installed may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser they are using.”