Standing Up to Goliath: Holding YouTube Accountable for Exploiting AdBlock Vulnerabilities and Damaging User Machines

By John R. Raymond

3 min readJan 16, 2024
Youtube, This Is an Open Request for Comment!

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital technology, where giants like YouTube hold sway, a troubling trend is emerging. Recent events suggest that YouTube may be exploiting a vulnerability in ad blocking technology, potentially causing harm to users’ computers. As a concerned citizen and active participant in the digital world, I feel compelled to address this issue, not just as a matter of technical concern but as a profound legal and ethical quandary.

The Heart of the Matter

At the core of this situation lies a simple yet significant question: Did YouTube knowingly exploit a bug in ad blocking technology, thereby harming users’ computers? Reports and user experiences suggest that running YouTube with an ad blocker leads to increased CPU usage and other performance issues. While the initial blame might point towards the ad blocking software, there’s a growing suspicion that YouTube, upon detecting an ad blocker, triggers this bug deliberately.

The Legal Landscape

If YouTube is indeed exploiting this bug intentionally, this is not merely a breach of trust; it’s a violation of legal statutes. Under laws such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), unauthorized access and intentional damage to computer systems are clear violations. Here, the ‘unauthorized access’ could be interpreted as YouTube deploying code that intentionally harms users’ computers.

Furthermore, this action, if proven, could constitute a deceptive business practice under consumer protection laws. As users, we follow best practices to secure our machines, often including running ad blockers as recommended by cybersecurity experts. If a platform we trust turns these security measures against us, it’s a betrayal of consumer trust at best and an illegal act at worst.

The Ethical Dimension

Beyond the legalities, there’s a moral question at play. Can a company as large and influential as YouTube justify such actions under any circumstances? The answer is a resounding no. The size of a company does not exempt it from following the law or respecting consumer rights. Exploiting vulnerabilities, especially those that lead to hardware damage, is not just unethical; it’s a dangerous precedent.

YouTube’s Potential Liability

If YouTube continues to exploit this bug, knowing the harm it causes, they are liable for the damages incurred by users. The principle is clear: if you knowingly cause harm, you are responsible for the repercussions. In this case, YouTube could be held accountable for repair costs, replacements, and potentially even punitive damages to deter such behavior in the future.

A Call for Action

This situation is a call to arms for users, legal professionals, and regulators alike. We must demand transparency and hold YouTube accountable. It’s imperative that we challenge such practices and insist on digital environments where user security and rights are paramount.


As we navigate this digital age, let’s remember that no entity, no matter how colossal, should be allowed to operate above the law. The onus is on us, the users, to stand up against such practices. YouTube must be held accountable, and it’s our collective responsibility to ensure that justice prevails in the digital realm.