Facebook hammers another nail into Flash's coffin

The Social NetworkTM bins Adobe's malware-magnet for video, adopts HTML5


Facebook has hammered another nail in to the coffin of Adobe Flash, by switching from the bug-ridden plug-in to HTML5 for all videos on the site.

The Social NetworkTM explained the move by saying “Moving to HTML5 best enables us to continue to innovate quickly and at scale, given Facebook’s large size and complex needs.”

Flash hasn't been completely banished: Facebook says it is “continuing to work together with Adobe to deliver a reliable and secure Flash experience for games on our platform.”

Facebook's Daniel Baulig writes that going to HTML5 means the company can “tap into the excellent tooling that exists in browsers, among the open source community, and at Facebook in general. Not having to recompile code and being able to apply changes directly in the browser allow us to move fast.”

“HTML5 made it possible for us to build a player that is fully accessible to screen readers and keyboard input,” Baulig added, going on to explain that the standard will make it easier to develop for people with visual impairments.

But HTML5 is no panacea: Baulig wrote that “we noticed that a lot of the older browsers would simply perform worse using the HTML5 player than they had with the old Flash player.”

“We saw more errors, longer loading times, and a generally worse experience.”

The Social NetworkTM therefore moved to HTML5 for newer browsers some time ago, adding more browsers over time has improved its video player. As of December 19th, however, it's all HTML5 all the time, no matter the browser with which you venture into The House That Zuck Built.

And The House always wins: Baulig says “People like, comment, and share more on videos after the switch, and users have been reporting fewer bugs. People appear to be spending more time with video because of it.”

As Baulig's post points out, Facebook operates at unusual scale and therefore has unusual needs. Yet the site's considerable influence means developers everywhere are likely to be asked to consider this decision before long, not least because YouTube's also flushed Flash. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Western Digital open to spinning out flash, hard disk businesses
    Messrs Elliott strike again

    Western Digital has confirmed the board is considering "strategic alternatives" for the storage supplier, including spinning out its flash and hard disk businesses.

    This follows calls last month by activist investor Elliott Management, which has amassed a $1 billion investment in WD equating to a six percent share stake, for a "full separation" based on those product lines.

    In a statement, CEO David Goeckeler said: "The board is aligned in the belief that maximizing value creation warrants a comprehensive assessment of strategic alternatives focused on structural options for the company's Flash and HDD businesses.

    Continue reading
  • Facebook phishing campaign nets millions in IDs and cash
    Hundreds of millions of stolen credentials and a cool $59 million

    An ongoing phishing campaign targeting Facebook users may have already netted hundreds of millions of credentials and a claimed $59 million, and it's only getting bigger.

    Identified by security researchers at phishing prevention company Pixm in late 2021, the campaign has only been running since the final quarter of last year, but has already proven incredibly successful. Just one landing page - out of around 400 Pixm found - got 2.7 million visitors in 2021, and has already tricked 8.5 million viewers into visiting it in 2022. 

    The flow of this phishing campaign isn't unique: Like many others targeting users on social media, the attack comes as a link sent via DM from a compromised account. That link performs a series of redirects, often through malvertising pages to rack up views and clicks, ultimately landing on a fake Facebook login page. That page, in turn, takes the victim to advert landing pages that generate additional revenue for the campaign's organizers. 

    Continue reading
  • Zuckerberg sued for alleged role in Cambridge Analytica data-slurp scandal
    I can prove CEO was 'personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect privacy', DC AG insists

    Cambridge Analytica is back to haunt Mark Zuckerberg: Washington DC's Attorney General filed a lawsuit today directly accusing the Meta CEO of personal involvement in the abuses that led to the data-slurping scandal. 

    DC AG Karl Racine filed [PDF] the civil suit on Monday morning, saying his office's investigations found ample evidence Zuck could be held responsible for that 2018 cluster-fsck. For those who've put it out of mind, UK-based Cambridge Analytica harvested tens of millions of people's info via a third-party Facebook app, revealing a – at best – somewhat slipshod handling of netizens' privacy by the US tech giant.

    That year, Racine sued Facebook, claiming the social network was well aware of the analytics firm's antics yet failed to do anything meaningful until the data harvesting was covered by mainstream media. Facebook repeatedly stymied document production attempts, Racine claimed, and the paperwork it eventually handed over painted a trail he said led directly to Zuck. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022