Stopping Autoplay Videos on News Websites with Adblock Plus

Like many Aussie and Kiwi ex-pats I know, checking in on the news in the old country is both a habit and an escape, but the constant attempts by the old print media to “reinvent” themselves as broadcast/video media had lead to an irritating and increasingly prevalent feature on news articles – the Autoplay video.

autoplay-facebook

For the many folks out there already using an AdBlocker, here’s how you can add a couple of custom rules you can add to AdBlock Plus to stop these videos from running.

  1. Click on AdBlock and choose “Options”.
  2. In the top menu bar, click on “Customize”.
  3. In the lower part, click on the “Edit” button next to the “Manually edit your filters” heading.

When you’re there, add the following two lines to the list of filters to block:

http://ffxapm-a.akamaihd.net/*videoId=
newsvidwsj.news.com.au
brightcove$domain=nzherald.co.nz

The first one will block videos from running on smh.com.au, theage.com.au and (probably AFR) as the videos themselves come down from Fairfax’s account with Akamai, a content delivery network. Note that it is just blocking requests with videoId= in them – so other stuff coming from Fairfax’s Akamai account will still work.

glorious-video-player-error

The second one will block videos on websites powered by News Limited (such as news.com.au, and if you’re one of *those* people, dailytelegraph.com.au). It means hard-blocking the video server used by news.com.au.

glorious-video-player-error-news.com.au

The third one blocks anything with Brightcove (the name of the vendor that provides the video tech) in the title on the New Zealand Herald – since the NZ Herald is still using Shockwave, you basically need to stop the Brightcove player from loading it all rather than blocking the content you don’t want to autoplay.

glorious-video-player-error-nzherald.co.nz

I’m well aware that this isn’t the most elegant solution – having a way to set the JS preference/cookie to respect the “Never Play” and have it work even when you’re using Incognito mode would be much nicer – but this gets the job done pretty quickly using an extension used by millions.

Hope this helps other people avoid this irritation, especially when you’re reading the news at your desk at work and you don’t want some shittly produced video screaming out of your computer speakers.

Oh, and if you’ve got your own examples to add for your fav news websites, please add them in the comments!

10 thoughts on “Stopping Autoplay Videos on News Websites with Adblock Plus

  1. Was googling for a solution for this because news.com.au videos have started auto-playing. Unfortunately after trying your tip, the videos are still auto-playing. Any ideas? Thanks.

  2. Man, I’ve had issues with this ever since chrome started defaulting to html5 video, meaning my old standby of just using flash-blockers no longer works. Thank you so much.
    FWIW, this works with uBlock too.

  3. One rule to block Brightcove players on all major Fairfax and News Corp sites:

    ||players.brightcove.net^$domain=www.smh.com.au|www.theage.com.au|www.canberratimes.com.au|www.brisbanetimes.com.au|www.watoday.com.au|www.news.com.au|www.theaustralian.com.au|www.dailytelegraph.com.au|www.heraldsun.com.au

    And another rule to block — at the root — all of the tracking garbage across the main Fairfax metro mastheads.

    ||dtm.fairfaxstatic.com.au^$domain=www.smh.com.au|www.theage.com.au|www.canberratimes.com.au|www.brisbanetimes.com.au|www.watoday.com.au

    I use these two in uBlock Origin, but as far as I’m aware they should work in Adblock Plus as well. The improvement is *enormous*.

      • Blocking autoplay videos doesn’t have to be such a pain. Just rightclick on the element you would like to block on the page (annoying autoplay video on any site out there, for example) and simply select “Block Frame”

      • In my experience, this will stop them displaying, but will not stop them playing. If you’ve got your computer on mute (and aren’t tethering where you care about bandwidth) this is fine, but if you have the volume up you get assaulted (with no controls to pause!) or if you’re commuting and tethering, you’re blowing your data with shit you never wanted to see in the first place…

        Wish that Chrome etc had an easy setting to limit playing of videos by domains (the same way it has blocking of notifications without permission, or sharing location without permission, etc). YouTube = Yes, everyone else = No.

  4. That’s trivial. Just block players.brightcove.net on all sites. Lots of sites use the Brightcove player without autoplay, though. I probably wouldn’t care if it was blocked everywhere (see that recent-ish study about millennials overwhelmingly hating video news), but I’m sure some folks would.

    Also, Fairfax’s video content isn’t all served up from that ffxapm-a.akamaihd.net site that Geoff mentioned. Quite a lot of it is on other domains (but still using Akamai’s CDN)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s