Facebook Website Punts Adobe Flash, Goes All In With HTML5 Video

As if Adobe's Flash Player needed another nail in its coffin, it nevertheless received yet another one this weekend from Facebook. The world's largest social playground announced that it recently flipped the switch over to HTML5 to be the default video player for videos on its website, and that includes the ones that appear in its News Feed.

"From development velocity to accessibility features, HTML5 offers a lot of benefits. Moving to HTML5 best enables us to continue to innovate quickly and at scale, given Facebook’s large size and complex needs," Facebook stated in a blog post.


You could see this coming from a country mile, though it didn't happen overnight. Facebook had to address several issues before it felt comfortable going all-in with HTML5 on the web, one of which pertained to performance in older browsers. Even though most web browsers support HTML5 video, in practice, Facebook said it observed "more errors, longer load times, and a generally worse experience" in older browsers during a limited test run.

"We decided to initially launch the HTML5 player to only a small set of browsers, and continuously roll out to more browsers, versions, and operating systems as we improved it and fixed small bugs," Facebook added. "That's why we waited until recently to ship the HTML5 player to all browsers by default, with the exception of a small set of them."

It also had to address logging issues and a regression in the time it took to load Facebook. Those issues have been resolved, or at least fixed to a point where Facebook felt comfortable making the switch across the board.

Occupy Flash

Facebook is far from the only entity to leave Flash behind in 2015. The writing on the wall is so big at this point that even Adobe acknowledged the trend, stating earlier this month that it has begun encouraging content creators to embrace new web standards.

"Today, open standards like HTML5 have matured and provide many of the capabilities that Flash ushered in. Our customers have clearly communicated that they would like our creative applications to evolve to support multiple standards and we are committed to doing that," Adobe said.

At the same time, Adobe is writing Flash's obituary. Adobe continues to plug security holes, and even though Facebook is switching over to HTML5 for its web videos, the social network said it will continue to "work together with Adobe to deliver a reliable and secure Flash experience for games" on its platform.