YouTube now blocks video playback in Microsoft Edge when strict
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YouTube now blocks video playback in Microsoft Edge when strict tracking protection is enabled

Since May 2023, Google has been systematically combating ad blockers in browsers that restrict viewing videos on YouTube. More and more users are seeing warnings and pop-up messages that block YouTube videos from playing if their ad blocker is enabled. It seems that Google has decided to go one step further and has started blocking video playback when the browser restricts the collection of user data – which is exactly what Microsoft Edge users have experienced.

    Image source: Pixabay

Image source: Pixabay

Microsoft Edge, the default browser in newer versions of Windows, has built-in security features that limit online tracking of a user’s activities. Microsoft’s Browser Tracking Protection offers three modes: Basic, Balanced (Standard), and Strict, which are self-explanatory. By typing Edge://settings/privacy in the address bar, the user can switch between them:

  • “Basic” mode is intended for those who don’t mind tailored advertising and aren’t particularly wary of web tracking. Its primary function is to fend off malicious trackers, with a focus on threats such as fingerprinting and cryptominers. This mode does not block ads.
  • Balanced mode is enabled by default and does not block ads on YouTube. It is designed for users who want less personalized advertising and minimal disruption to their online experience.
  • “Strict” mode is designed specifically for those who value privacy, are willing to sacrifice website compatibility, and provides the most tracking prevention possible. According to Microsoft, this mode can “Minimal influence on advertising” but it doesn’t block it completely.

Despite Microsoft’s announcement, many users who use the Edge browser’s “strict” tracking protection mode have recently confirmed that they have been blocked from watching YouTube videos. To continue viewing, you must disable tracking protection or switch to “balanced” mode.

    Image source: WindowsLatest.com

Image source: WindowsLatest.com

Google uses the following arguments to defend its position: “Ad blockers violate YouTube’s terms of service. You’ll need to add YouTube to your exceptions or turn off ad blocking altogether to continue playing videos. Advertising enables worldwide access to YouTube. For an ad-free experience, users can choose YouTube Premium, ensuring content creators continue to be rewarded.”.

Although Microsoft Edge’s “strict” tracking protection mode doesn’t block all ads, only those that claim to track the user, YouTube still issues a warning and we can’t wait for Google to change its policies on the matter. Perhaps in retaliation, Microsoft Edge has started flagging the Google Chrome installation file as malicious.

About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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