People all over the internet are experiencing a strange five-second loading delay when they open a YouTube video.
In our experience, we couldn’t find that specific line. In fact, we didn’t experience any performance issues when we opened a YouTube video in Firefox, Edge, or Chrome. It’s entirely possible that this only affects a handful of accounts. For whatever reason we were spared. Still, the delay is an ongoing problem; one that may or may not see a solution.
The repression continues
So what gives? Why does this happen? It appears this is yet another attempt by YouTube to crack down on ad blockers.
A spokesperson told Android Authority: “Users who have ad blockers installed (in their web browser) may experience sub-optimal display.” This happens regardless of whether you use Firefox, Edge or Chrome. The company would rather you let ads play normally or buy a YouTube Premium subscription.
User wukko on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) provided additional details about the move after digging into the source file. They explain that the freeze is caused by a “new anti-adblock functionality” that is mainly being tested for third-party browsers. Some understandably annoyed users have labeled the gap as a “lazy attempt” to ensure ads play for “at least five seconds” until the video loads. The blank screen is caused by an ad blocker that prevents the commercial from playing normally. Additionally, browsers with “tracking protection enabled,” such as Firefox, will also be negatively affected.
As for why people are less likely to experience problems in Chrome, Wukko says it’s because the app “doesn’t block internal trackers.”
It’s not all doom and gloom. There does seem to be a solution if you have the uBlock Origin extension installed. Tom’s Hardware in their reporting states that you can reduce the artificial delay to 0.001 ms by adding some filter to the configuration.
To do this, click on the uBlock Origin icon in your browser. This may differ per app. The image below shows the process in Firefox. Then select the gear icon from the drop-down menu to open the dashboard.
In the dashboard, go to My Filters at the top of the window. Enter the following filter in the first line and immediately click Apply changes:
www.youtube.com##+js(nano-stb, solution(1), *, 0.001)
It remains to be seen whether YouTube’s crusade has been successful or not. Back in early November Wired published a report about the crackdown claiming users have been uninstalling their extensions en masse, so it seems to have worked – for now. We could see people moving to other forms of ad-free videos, which in turn could lead to the platform implementing stricter tactics, resulting in a perpetual cat-and-mouse game between YouTube and its users.
Check out Ny Breaking’s list of the best ad blockers of 2023.