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I use YouTube while signed out. I have a Google account, but I only sign in to check email, then sign right back out. YouTube is tracking what I watch when signed out, then putting similar videos in the related videos part of the sidebar.

I think they are using the VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE cookie to do this, but removing the cookie only fixes the problem for a moment:

  1. Remove cookie
  2. Reload page
  3. Related videos based on history are gone, only generic related videos remain
  4. Reload page
  5. Related videos based on history are back

I noticed that the cookie in question expires next year, could I use JavaScript to expire it now? Or can I make this stop some other way? I saw this question, but I am not using the Flash player, I am using HTML5 player.

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  • Maybe take a look at this option. superuser.com/questions/706690/…
    – nd510
    Jul 23, 2017 at 16:36
  • 1
    you should block ALL 3rd party cookies anyway, very few sites "break" without them.
    – dandavis
    Jul 23, 2017 at 18:55
  • you need only to block all cookies under domaine youtube.com in addition to youtube-nocookie.com, that's what worked for me.
    – elsadek
    Jul 25, 2017 at 23:37

6 Answers 6

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I don't believe the above solutions work very effectively individually. What I have noticed is that even if I use a different browser, I still get the same video suggestions when I sign in elsewhere. I think in addition to the above options, they also use the IP address to associate you with the videos you watch. So far the best way I've found is to use a VPN while watching youtube. The drawback is the streaming speed of course.

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I also suggest using two different browsers; one for all signed-in work, and one for all not-signed-in work. Regular use of "Clear all history" on both browsers, makes thing even better. Most of the time, you only need your bookmarks, and those are not affected by "Clear all history".

I do use Privacy Badger also, on top of this arrangement, but this guards against any potential bugs in such tools, any other unexpected exposures, etc.

I've been doing this ever since I saw the panopticlick demo, many years ago.

The only inconvenience is copying links (say, sent in email to me, hence showing on the "signed-in" browser) manually using copy-paste to the not-signed-in browser to view. That discipline takes time to cultivate but it's muscle memory for me now. Combined with VimFX, Vimperator, or similar, it's not even very tedious.

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If the option provided by nd510 in the comments doesn't work, you could try more encompassing options like Ghostery or Privacy Badger or any other of the many available browser-extensions that allow you to block cookies.

Of the two mentioned, Ghostery can be most easily tuned to block nothing except one specific cookie, while Privacy Badger is great for hassle-free blocking of everything that tracks you.

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Visit this setting page on youtube to get to two options. You will actually have to change *2 settings.

First off, click on "pause search history" - this disables video logging. Next, in the left menu, click "history" followed by the button at the top "pause viewing history". This will allow you to disable the recording of the videos that either you or someone you know watches on YouTube from your computer. It's really that simple.

Now, Should you decide that want to reenable video logging as well as historical video search history, you can undo the aforementioned settings simply by clicking the "resume" buttons 2 times - for both settings.

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  • 1
    Do those work for even signed out users?
    – Zombo
    Jul 31, 2017 at 11:45
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Click Pause watch history and Clear all watch history here:

http://youtube.com/feed/history

Note that this page says:

Watch History isn't viewable when signed out

but it still appears to fix the issue. Thanks to this answer:

http://webapps.stackexchange.com/a/91603

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  • 2
    This just stops Google from showing you the stuff - behind the scenes they are still tracking you. Oct 8, 2017 at 10:11
  • @AndréBorie maybe I worded the question wrong then - I dont care if they track me as long as I cant tell they are
    – Zombo
    Oct 8, 2017 at 12:36
-1

Delete history every time before you want to sign in or out, doing this youtube won't know what type of videos you were watching before you connected to your account.

Or try using multiple Firefox profiles with different Youtube accounts, i tried this before and youtube didn't show me the same videos so i think they only track using cookies and not by using IP address.

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  • Google still tracks even if you delete your history. It just doesn't show up in history. And yes, IP is a factor is what gets shown, but not a primary factor.
    – schroeder
    May 26, 2020 at 10:13

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