Firefox users complain that YouTube slows down video loading – Google talks about fighting ad blockers

Firefox users have begun to notice an artificial five-second loading delay when watching YouTube videos, which is not present when using Chrome. Google explained that the delay is part of a broader effort to target ad blockers, not specifically Firefox users, according to 404 Media.

This issue has attracted significant attention on various online platforms, including Reddit and Hacker News. Despite attempts, neither Android Authority nor 404 Media could reproduce the issue, although the code causing it can be identified in Firefox. Mozilla, the developer of Firefox, does not believe this is a Firefox-specific issue, but widespread reports suggest that it is affecting some users.

Google’s statement to 404 Media does not contain specifics, but confirms the introduction of artificial timeouts to prevent the use of ad blockers. This strategy affects users regardless of their browser. Videos and user complaints have been shared on social media, emphasizing the impact of this problem.

Google and YouTube have modified the detectors of ad blockers on YouTube, which has led to inconsistency in the use of the service. Some users can use adblockers without any problems, while others face complete video blocking. The blocker detectors also falsely identified some privacy scripts as blockers.

This situation reflects the growing distrust of users in Google’s web services. The uBlockOrigin ad-blocking team has noticed different user experiences on YouTube, which vary from day to day and across browsers. The “artificial wait” does not contain any messages explaining the delay, which leads to a poor user experience.

In the past, Mozilla has accused Google of deliberately slowing down YouTube on Firefox and Edge. A former Mozilla executive also claimed that Google updates often negatively affect Firefox performance. Google’s recent announcement about changing the Chrome extension policy in 2024, which will also affect ad blockers, also shows that the company is ready for criticism from users, as it sees the benefit in increasing advertising revenue.