Here’s why Facebook is ditching Adobe Flash for HTML5

Adobe Flash has been on a slow death spiral for the last few years and, now that Facebook has decided it’s time to abandon the format, it’s clear Adobe’s Flash fortunes won’t ever improve. With Apple having denounced the tech years ago, and YouTube following suit more recently, Facebook’s abandonment should be signal enough that Adobe needs to take Flash out to pasture.

Facebook’s move away from Flash shouldn’t come as a surprise: Flash has been at the heart of many serious security exploits over the last few years, with Adobe struggling to plug the holes in time. The situation became so bad that, when Facebook hired Alex Stamos as its chief security officer, he publicly asked Adobe to announce an end-of-life for Flash – clearly not a good sign.

Interestingly, while most Facebook users won’t even notice the switch to HTML5, one major reason Facebook has made the change is because of increased engagement with the player. HTML5 videos play faster, have less bugs and work on more devices, meaning engagement increases and developers can quickly make site-wide changes without worrying about flash compatibility.

An example of a HTML5 Facebook video

“Not only did launching the HTML5 video player make development easier, but it also improved the video experience for people on Facebook,” says Facebook’s Daniel Baulig. “Videos now start playing faster. 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.”

Interestingly, while HTML5 has taken the torch from Flash for video playing purposes, it’s still used as the primary means for playing games on Facebook. It’s unclear if Facebook is also planning to find an alternative means for games on the site, but for now it is “continuing to work together with Adobe to deliver a reliable and secure Flash experience on [its] games platform.”

Now, take a look at what DARPA believes 2045 will look like. Spoiler: Adobe Flash isn’t in there.

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