Important news coverage of 9/11 has been lost as a result of Adobe Flash being discontinued.
Adobe Flash reigned supreme for years, the preferred way of presenting videos on the internet. Ultimately, a seemingly endless array of security issues, combined with resource-intensive performance, led Apple to stop including the Flash Player with new Macs. Other companies soon followed suit, spelling the demise of the product and the format it spawned.
A further nail in the coffin was the rise of standards compliant alternatives, such as HTML5, that addressed many of Flash’s shortcomings.
Unfortunately, much of the video coverage of 9/11 was uploaded to the internet using Flash, meaning it is no longer accessible, according to CNN Business.
“This is really about the problem of what I call the boneyard of the internet. Everything that’s not a piece of text or a flat picture is basically destined to rot and die when new methods of delivering the content replace it,” Dan Pacheco, professor of practice and chair of journalism innovation at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, told CNN Business. “I just feel like the internet is rotting at an even faster pace, ironically, because of innovation. It shouldn’t.”
While the death of Flash was a welcome improvement to the Internet, it illustrates the challenges and importance of finding a way to archive important content when older technologies and formats fade away.