YouTube warns against password sharing just weeks after adblocking crackdown

Mike Wheatley

Having only recently decided to crack down on ad blockers, YouTube premium is now doing the same to users who share their passwords.


The YouTube Premium service is a way to enjoy YouTube without those annoying ads popping up every 10-20 minutes, and it provides additional features such as offline viewing. However, it’s also a pretty expensive service – and has recently bumped up the costs of its subscriptions. As such, it’s no surprise that lots of people engage in password sharing, either to access the service for free at their friends’ and family members’ expense, or to share in the costs.

Now though, YouTube Premium is cracking down, contacting users that appear to be engaged in password sharing and telling them off. In its emails, some of which have been posted on Reddit, they inform the customer that they’re suspected of password sharing. They point out that this is against the rules, and say that if the user doesn’t stop, their subscription could be put on hold.

The emailed threats appear to be part of a carefully orchestrated plan by YouTube to increase its revenues. Last month, the company began blocking users who employ ad blockers to skirt its ads. After relentlessly reminding people that it’s possible to enjoy an ad-free experience with YouTube by paying for a subscription, it followed up just weeks later by increasing the costs of the service in multiple parts of the world. The company has said it’s making a “global effort” to stamp out ad-blocking users.

“The use of ad blockers violate YouTube’s Terms of Service,” said a spokesperson for YouTube’s parent company Google recently.. “We’ve launched a global effort to urge viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad free experience. Ads support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favorite content on YouTube.”

The efforts appear to be paying off for Google, which recently revealed that YouTube’s third quarter ad revenue rose to $7.95 billion, up from $7.07 billion one year earlier.

YouTube Premium isn’t the only content streaming service trying to clampdown on password sharing. Last year, Netflix launched a similar campaign, but it went about it in a slightly less threatening way. Rather than warn users it will pause their subscriptions, it simply adds a small surcharge to their subscription cost at the next renewal. The tactic appears to have paid off, as it reported adding millions of new user accounts in the summer.