Users of YouTube have recently noticed that videos are taking longer to load when using the Firefox browser, with a delay of about five seconds. This delay has been linked to the use of ad blockers and Google’s efforts to combat these programs.
One user, identified as vk6, shared their experience on Reddit, showing that when playing a video on YouTube using Firefox, there is a delay with a black screen before the video starts. However, when using Chrome, the video plays automatically without any delay.
The reason for this delay is believed to be related to ad blocking extensions in the Firefox browser. Specifically, in the uBlock Origin Reddit forum, it has been claimed that the delay is not a Firefox bug, but rather a code implemented by Google on YouTube, identified as 5E3 in the polymer script link.
YouTube confirmed in early November that it was implementing global measures to combat ad blockers in browsers, including increased warnings urging users to avoid their use or to subscribe to YouTube Premium. In addition, the platform may block the playback of the video if ad blockers are detected.
The immediate consequence of this battle against ad blockers has been an increase in the number of uninstalls and installations of ad blocking software such as AdGuard, AdLock, and Ghostery. This is because Google’s primary business and that of its YouTube platform is advertising.