PG-13 audio ad with no visible controls on front page article

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I opened an article (the one about the South Park game's difficulty slider) and audio began to play. I was intrigued because I'm running uBlock Origin on Chrome (more on this in a minute) and I could find no controls. Also, it didn't sound like an ad. It wasn't trying to pitch anything. It sounded like a man and a woman talking. But it was clearly playing in that tab as Chrome displayed the sound icon. The article did have a YouTube video, but it was not playing. I could find no media playing. I say it is a PG-13 ad because I heard the words [excrement] and [breasts] (trying to keep the forum clean, haha; also, I know this is an all-ages forum). That's when I thought maybe it wasn't an ad. What it sounded like was an adult picture shoot. But I have no such videos and I'm almost certain neither does the computer I'm using.


I tried unsuccessfully to recreate the issue as I thought, too late, I could use Chrome's web inspector mode (whatever you call F12) or Firefox's DownThemAll! (download extension) to maybe see the hidden audio file. So after looking in Chrome, I opened Firefox, disabled the ad blocker (it also runs uBlock Origin) and tried to fish for the errant ad that way. Again no luck.


I realize this isn't helpful, I'm just putting it here in case someone else has the issue, maybe they will know more. And it establishes a pattern. Like when you file a police report and they cannot do anything, but it's on file.


I don't want to raise the whole ad block debate, but for me it is a measure of security I will not let go of. I have been attacked by ransomware and I've successfully fended it off, and sometimes these attacks have come, not from illicit sites, but from legit tech sites. It's a risk I'm not willing to take on my own personal machines, and right now I'm actually on a work machine using PortableApps/Chrome Portable. So being as that I do not own the hardware (except my portable SSD the apps run from), I take extra care to ensure that the hardware is not compromised by malware. In fact I ran their antivirus (Trend Micro) and it found nothing, so I doubt it's a local thing. Though, I will say with regards to ads, the ads on this site literally killed Portable Firefox in minutes. I think I got to look at six ads? An unresponsive script I could not stop crashed the browser, and I was forced to use Task Manager to kill Firefox.


Normally I don't participate in the ad debate because the rational argument is often considered toxic to the site owners... frankly, there's no equal playing field for debate when somebody's paycheck is on the line. I get that. But is there somebody here who is responsible for the ads who uses the site every day without an ad blocker and the ads not disabled in any way? I know paid users can disable them, which would imply staff can as well. But somebody should know that there are ads that are running resource intensive scripts (this machine has an i5 3570 and 4GB RAM — I know, I know, throw a GPU in it and it's a gaming rig, albeit a slightly outdated one... I didn't pick the parts!) and possibly adult ads, and they're possibly circumventing security software (ad blockers), which should be a concern to the folks upstairs. Not to mention the half-page Best Buy/Samsung TV ad, but that one isn't malicious, it's just annoying, and it goes away after ~5 seconds. I suspect that ad falls within Neowin's acceptable ads policy, and honestly, I can't fault it much. It's about what I expect. Though, I will say it's ironic, putting an unmovable and non-removable ad in my face that takes up half the screen is a really poor way to sell a TV (because the same ad would be massive on the TV).


And as I said, I'm sure it's not too helpful, and I'm sorry I haven't got more, but it's probably a little more helpful than saying nothing. And it's late Thursday night so... if you're reading this, you probably weren't doing too much better. ;)

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This is happening to me as well. Just had it on the iPhone 8 glitch article. Sounds like someone is laughing and then I hear kids screaming. 


I have uBlock enabled so I'm not sure if it's an ad, regardless, it's quite annoying to be listening to headphones and have a screaming kid blast through, with no apparent source to mute or block, just somewhere on the page. 

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I had the same thing but two guys having a conversation in Russian (I assume) and like you couldn't find a video that was actually playing or anything noticeable to turn it off.


This was also while running uBlock Origin.

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Had the same thing happen just now; I was reading an article on the main page and suddenly audio starts playing of some guy saying "Work it girl, let's see some cleavage, yeah work it" and I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. When I closed the Neowin tab it stopped playing. Fortunately I was alone, that could have been awkward.

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Steven P.

What the hell? I definitely would like to see a screenshot of this happening!


Meanwhile I need to implement a fix for logged in members that may fix the issue, but audio should not autoplay at all with our ads, so I would rather be able to report this, than ignore it folks!

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Steven P.
17 minutes ago, Romtec said:

It has happened to me as well.

In Firefox on Linux Mint 18 on the below url.

Appears to be Russians talking.

Totally freaked me out when it happened.

Using AdBlocker Ultimate

Just determined if I disable the AdBlocker for Neowin it does not happen.

Re-Enable the AdBlocker and back comes the audio


Ah well, you might want to check if some rogue extension or that adblocker isn't injecting ads. We don't offer support to adblockers, because it can't be us can it?


Consider whitelisting Neowin, our ads are safe and fewer when you are logged in, plus it helps us with the running cost. Or get a subscription :)

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I don't have ad block on for this site and I can tell the sound is definitely playing like others have said. 

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I'm thinking it might be something google related. While not having an issue on this site, I have had incidents the past few weeks on YouTube were the sound would keep playing even leaving the site. The only way to stop it was to close Firefox.


I'm pretty much locked down on my system. Ad block, disconnect and Kaspersky doing it's thing..


A place to look for the culprit though maybe..




Edited by JoseyWales
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