Why You May Suddenly Have Trouble Playing Videos On Facebook
You may have seen this warning a lot lately when you try to view a video. And if Facebook and Mozilla don't get their way, you may be seeing it a lot more in the future.
A decade ago, Adobe Flash player was an essential part of online life. Most streaming videos, online games, and spiffy websites required Flash to work. Even to this day, the video software runs more than 10% of websites world wide. But bugs and security problems have plagued the software, and in return soured many people's opinion of it.
Now Facebook, along with browser Firefox are looking to crack down on the software and its apparent vulnerabilities, after years of erratic behavior. Facebook, along with Firefox's parent company Mozilla, have made recent moves to force Adobe's hand, insisting that it either develop a security patch, or phase out the video software altogether.
The head-of-security for Facebook has recently issued a statement calling for and "end-of-life date" for Flash, while Mozilla's support chief announced that all versions of the software had been "blocked by default". Both Facebook and Firefox agree that Adobe Flash represents one of the biggest security vulnerabilities on the internet. It has recently been discovered that a spy-ware firm Hacking Team had exploited those weaknesses to infiltrate computers and install malware.
Facebook and Mozilla aren't the first companies to call Flash onto the technical carpet. Facebook discontinued the use of the video software in January. While it hasn't banished Flash in general, Google's Chrome browser does automatically stop Flash videos on a case-by-case basis.
Steve Jobs, who founded Apple, was one of the first technical minds to call out Flash, when he fired off an open letter calling for a boycott of the "buggy, backward looking, battery hog" software in 2010. He credited Flash for being the leading cause of Macs crashing, and that it impaired the reliability of Apple's products.