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Ad blockers might be behind YouTube’s slowdown on Firefox

In the meantime, if you’re a Firefox user wrestling with slow YouTube load times, you might want to try Chrome or consider turning off your ad blocker.

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Image: KnowTechie

If you’ve been using Firefox to binge-watch your favorite YouTube channels and noticed that the loading circle is becoming your new on-screen companion, don’t worry; you’re not alone.

A recent report by 9to5Google has highlighted an issue where YouTube is loading at a markedly slower pace for some Firefox users, and it appears that adblockers could be the cause.

This slowdown is causing quite a stir among netizens. Redditor u/vk6_ posted a video showing YouTube taking its sweet time to load on Firefox.

But, plot twist, when Firefox was disguised as Chrome, YouTube loaded faster than you can say “buffering”.

Google, in response to 9to5Google, hinted at ad blockers as the potential party poopers.

They stated, “users who have ad blockers installed may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser they are using.” That’s Google speak for, “it’s not us, it’s your ad blocker.”

But if ad blockers are solely to blame, why does YouTube load faster when Firefox is masquerading as Chrome? It’s not like this is a masquerade ball, and we’re all trying to figure out who’s behind the masks.

The timing of this slowdown is also raising eyebrows, considering Firefox has become a refuge for users amidst Chrome’s crackdown on ad-blockers.

Is this a strategic move by Google to win back its user base, or just a technical bug related to Firefox’s Gecko browser engine? The jury’s still out on that one.

Further insights from a BrenTech video suggest that this issue might be built into the code of Firefox, causing the browser to load YouTube videos slower. However, users with ad blockers, such as U block origin, seem to bypass this delay, loading videos instantly.

Firefox users are far from amused. One user commented, “If they have time to purposefully break products and play games like this instead of fixing the multitude of issues across their entire product range, then they truly are misguided.”

So far, Google has maintained radio silence on the issue. In the meantime, if you’re a Firefox user wrestling with slow YouTube load times, you might want to try Chrome or consider turning off your ad blocker.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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