Facebook ditches Flash video in latest blow to maligned plugin

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Has Facebook finally struck the fatal blow in the long, slow demise of Flash by switching to HMTL5 video by default?

The social network has switched to HTML5 for all Facebook web video, meaning videos you upload or publish on your profile or fly through on your news feed will no longer require Flash. The experience will mirror that seen on mobile devices and the Facebook apps.

In a damning indictment of the much maligned Flash, Daniel Baulig, engineer at Facebook, said: “Not only did launching the HTML5 video player make development easier, but it also improved the video experience for people on Facebook. 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.”

Facebook continues to support Flash-based games, which titles such as Farmville and others typically require, but for video and adverts Flash is now dead to the social network.

Following YouTube’s switch to HTML5 video, Facebook’s dumping of Flash for its 8bn video views a day means that the majority of web video watched is now Flash-free. A few other video-streaming sites still use the plugin, but the number holding out is shrinking fast.

Even Adobe is moving away from Flash. Like Microsoft with Windows XP, Adobe has been trying to migrate companies away from using its own tools while putting out fires left, right and centre. Recently it dumped “Flash” from the name of its creative tools, which shows just how toxic the Flash brand has become.

For Facebook users it will be business as usual, for the most part, just a little faster and without having to worry about vulnerabilities in an ageing outdated video system.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Monday 21st December 2015 12.48 Europe/London

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