YouTube has been cracking down on ad-blockers in recent months, pushing users to either deactivate their ad-blocker on its platform or subscribe to YouTube Premium. Now, the Google-owned platform may have taken things one step further: Firefox users are reporting a noticeable increase in load times on YouTube's desktop website, and it looks like that’s an intentional choice on Google’s part.
Redditor u/vk6_ recently shared a video showing a five-second delay when loading up YouTube on Mozilla's Firefox web browser. For a few seconds, the page remains mostly blank with background elements populating but no videos to be seen. After the brief delay, the page loads up as usual. Other Redditors also ran into the same problem, claiming that YouTube is taking noticeably longer to load on Firefox and Edge, whereas on Chrome, there's no wait time. Annoyingly, the delay doesn't just trigger once, but rather every time a YouTube link is opened, users said.
Some users suggested it may be related to the ad-blocker crackdown. Several posited the code could be a clumsily implemented ad fallback if a user uses an ad blocker, with the relevant code possibly ensuring that an ad is displayed for at least five seconds before the video begins.
When reached for comment, a YouTube spokesperson said users who have ad blockers installed "may experience suboptimal viewing" no matter what browser they use:
“To support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favorite 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. Users who have ad blockers installed may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser they are using.”