Twitter is alit today, it seems, with news of Google neutralising AdBlock Plus. The popular extension, originally created by Wladimir Palant in 2006, is used by many to bypass ads hosted on the internet, including the video ads served by Google's video streaming site.
It has drawn the ire of many web publishers and websites alike for allegedly curtailing their revenues significantly. In an attempt to shore up the almost non-existent profits from YouTube, Google might have finally found a way of skirting the extension. Multiple Twitter users are now posting their accounts, including images, of Chrome circumventing the extension's ad-averse net:
So YouTube has finally clamped down on Adblock, if Adblock is active on the page, the pre-roll ad will play without a skip option.— SteeScribbles (@SteeScribbles) September 6, 2015
A 3 min ad? Really? I have adblock also how is this even possible? pic.twitter.com/3BmqZAGzIr— revVGC (@r4rev2) September 7, 2015
YouTube now treats ads as pre-videos on the site, and only the skip ad button is seen as an ad by adblock. GENIUS! Good job guys! :D— Jordi v/d Bussche (@Kwebbelkop) September 5, 2015
Google's workaround seems to be applicable to all similar extensions and isn't exclusive to just AdBlock Plus.
The company has not stopped at just skirting the extension, however. Users with AdBlock enabled will now have to see full-length video ads with no option to skip them half-way through, a feature YouTube has offered for a very long time. The only way to get the option back is to disable AdBlock, or to whitelist YouTube.
Ever-industrious, the internet has already found a way of bypassing Google's own bypass, though:
Fixed it. It seems to be just a Chrome thing. According to Adblock, uninstalling the "YouTube" "app" resolves the issue.— SteeScribbles (@SteeScribbles) September 6, 2015
This move is likely to please content creators and publishers, but is obviously a blow at users' ability to choose how they interact with the internet and what content they consume and what they don't. Blocking ads has always been a controversial issue and it will likely remain so in the future.
Update: We have been contacted by Rob Wu, a developer on the Chromium project - the open-source foundation for the Chrome browser - who has informed us that this change was not intentional but, rather, an unintended result of fixing a previous security issue (CVE-2015-1297). He confirmed that the issue will only be seen if the YouTube app is installed and that, at the moment, apart from disabling AdBlock or whitelisting YouTube, the only solution, as described above, is to uninstall the app. The problem is expected to be patched in the upcoming weeks or, at least, when Chrome 46 is released.
YouTube logo image via Shutterstock