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Most popular browser missing (Chrome)... (facebook.com)
277 points by chrisacky on May 24, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 115 comments

Original poster here. I came across this when one of my friends accounts was clearly compromised. They posted one of those "OMG! LOOK AT WHO VIEWS YOUR ACCOUNTS!" on lots of friends walls.

I wanted to check out what this link actually did, so I did a simple:

    wget www.facebook.com/?redirect=somebadlink.com > site.txt
But the wget failed because of the lack of a supported user agent, and Facebook instead served me up this page.

I really just had a little chuckle to myself, because, while this is extremely passive aggressive, it's not really hard to expect otherwise. I would do exactly the same if I were Facebook.


I'm just suprised that they don't link to either webkit based browsers (Chrome/Safari). You can only assume that when one of your biggest threats is Google (and MS own 1.5%~) you probably aren't going to send more users to Google's way.

All in all, it just made me laugh, since if you are going to suggest a modern browser, you surely can't ever give props to Internet Explorer ahead of any webkit based browser? IE is still struggling to implement the most basic HTML5 features.

Seriously? Not really hard to expect otherwise? I guess it's ok then for Google to drop FB from its search results, after all it's one of its biggest threats, right?

It's not the same at all - an equivalence would be if facebook didn't support Chrome at all and made people choose another browser.

Ahah yeah. That's true.

All in all this is bad for the open web (both ways).

At least, there's no Facebook browser yet. But hey, it might happen as well.

They both want control over the net. Complete control. Client, servers, data.

> At least, there's no Facebook browser yet. But hey, it might happen as well.

They should buy Opera and open source it :)

No idea if that makes any sense for Facebook from the business point of view, but it’d be really cool. And they definitely can afford it.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, Facebook getting their own browser makes a lot of sense. They have a real chance of pulling off the mythical Social Browser.

Opera already has an extensive email client which they could integrate with Facebook Messaging, they have widget system which would also fit nicely with Facebook apps. Opera was always about integrated experience, full functionality out of the box, and Facebook could take it to the next level.

HELL no. Please keep Opera private, play your open source wars with other browsers.

Was this the start of the current rumour?!


It’s most likely just a coincidence, but it was very eery seeing that post on the frontpage just a day after I’ve made that comment.

I’ve googled "Facebook+buy+Opera" that day to see if anyone had similar idea. The top story was something mentioning Facebook Opera in a literal sense, as an emotional roller coaster about some random privacy issue. 15 hours later, it’s all about the rumors. So weird! :)

Yep - I saw the headline and immediately thought back to your comment. And after reading the article, I wasn't convinced they had any substantive evidence. Either they thought the same thing independently or they simply crafted a news story from your comment!

If people talk about the Chrome botnet I can only imagine what would be said of a facebook browser.

> They should buy Opera and open source it :)

No need to buy anything. Webkit is free.

Err, Opera isn't Webkit based at all. It runs on their own custom, proprietary layout engine.

I think geon knows this, but is saying that Facebook could just build their own Webkit browser for free rather than having to buy a layout engine.

Is it? It seems to me that suggesting browsers that are not the most common, actually does much more for the open web than the alternative.

All in all yes. Sure they put Opera in there but those are actually very common and well known browsers. You know... IE, Firefox. (and Opera is still quite well known).

That being said it's their little war for total web control (again client+server+data) which is really bad, and what I meant to express in the comment.

They don't control IE, Firefox, or Opera. This seems really like they are fighting against Google's war for total web control. Which I'll reiterate, is a good thing.

> They both want control over the net. Complete control. Client, servers, data.

This is ridiculous. I don't trust Facebook/Google with all of my private data, but this claim is outrageous. Care to back this assertion up?

I'd be fine with that. In fact, it'd probably be an objective improvement with regard to my search results.

Not all of us believe search engines have some magical obligation to be complete or impartial. If you don't like the results you get from one, try another.

... because in the long-run, everything will work better if everyone just behaves selfishly ... ?

I decline to engage in a debate with someone who has decided he can divine my worldview from a single comment about privately-owned search engines.

Hint: I'm a socialist.

Agreed. The most frustrations I've had with google lately is when it assumes I care about some cluster of social chatter that vaguely intersects with my search terms.

  curl -I -A "Firefox" "www.facebook.com/?redirect=somebadlink.com" | grep Location

For clarity: the link is to the generic "unsupported browser" landing page. Chrome (and Safari) are definitely "supported" browsers. Facebook just doesn't show their logos or provide a download link to them.

Exactly. They can suggest whatever browsers they want. Much like how Google suggests Chrome whenever any page with their logo loads. It's not like Facebook is saying if you aren't using on of these three browsers then we can't help you.

They explicitly say "You’re using a web browser we don’t support." Even though this does not mean "we can't help you", I think it is close enough.

Yes, but they don't send you to that page on Chrome or Safari.

Don't worry, it says the same thing on Firefox and Opera also.

The page is STATIC. It isn't being generated based on any logic.

So the "you're" bit is vacuous. They don't mean your browser. They don't [functionally] mean any web browser. The page makes a statement, but we need to interpret that statement IRRESPECTIVE of our considerations of how it is generated/produced.

You cannot say that the page is static based on any URI. You have no idea what is being generated or not.

Needless, ridiculous, digressionist pedantry. The point was (and you can verify this yourself) that the page reports visually identical content regardless of which browser hits it. So it's not telling you that "your" browser is unsupported, it's a redirect target for some other page.

How do you know that Chrome and Safari are supported? Is there some documentation of this? A list somewhere? If so, Facebook should at least link to that page from here.


Interestingly, that page doesn't mention Opera.

No surprise there; Opera's market share is small enough that FB can simply code to the standard and worry about explicitly supporting the major browsers.

Although interestingly, if Opera accounts for ~2% of FB users (big if), then FB would have 16MM Opera users. Using the average of $4/user/year, that means Opera generates $64MM for them. That would be more than enough to justify throwing a few devs at.

Edit: Also curious is the pointless URL that page has. I would have thought FB would be using basic SEO on their help pages, so that someone googling "facebook supported browsers" would have a better chance at ranking first (it does for me, anyway). As an aside, the sub's page is actually the second result.

It's interesting because Opera is one of the links on the "unsupported browser" page.

I would actually posit that they make much less money per user from Opera than IE. Ie the type of individual who would click FB ads (or spend money on virtual gardens) is more likely to use the Windows default browser.

Because chome is 1. quite new and 2. auto-updating without neither asking or notifying users (and that is G-R-E-A-T).

Safari I don't know, are FB obligated to inform people of every possible choise? Nope, they aren't. Now let's discuss something more interesting than this dull facebook page!

> Because chome is 1. quite new and 2. auto-updating without neither asking or notifying users (and that is G-R-E-A-T).

You know that, but there's no guarantee whatsoever that someone landing on this page knows that.

It's in FB's best interest to inform people of what works and what doesn't. They certainly don't test every single browser out there, so putting the browsers they test on onto this page keeps users on the happy path.

FB really doesn't test all major browsers? That would be very surprising to me as there are only 5 or 6 major ones.

Agreed. But they shouldn't toss about the word "support" without they themselves being clear.

It isn't malicious, it isn't "stupid." It's "corporate." ("We'll fix it later.")

Yes. They just want to get those guys going who don't have a proper browser, without scaring them away with too many options. Something or the other has to be missed out - and that is okay - to be fair to all browsers is not the objective here.

It does seem kind of funny to point people to Opera over Chrome and/or Safari. If you're afraid of showing too many options, why wouldn't you just list the most popular two or three that you support? Chrome is, after all, more popular than Firefox now, and vastly more popular than Opera.

Yea, but leaving out the #1 browser seems a little... intentional.

That page hasn't really done much for my opinion of Facebook. I constantly run into it when trying to access public static content with an "unsupported" browser.

One thousand times this. I see the same thing even though I'm using IE because there's no actual browser detection code running at that link.

I do not believe your post adds clarity. What MIGHT add clarity is something like, "Oh, this is an unfinished error page" or an accident.

Any Web developer knows that now it would take intention, effort, not to support Webkit browsers (Chrome, Safari). I mean, if we take your interpretation, we should assume that laptops support, say, USB1, 2 and 3. They just _don't show their female ports_ on the panels.

Can we just call a spade a spade? Otherwise the whole page itself is nearly meaningless. "Support" becomes a meaningless word.

Moreover, that's beside the point. It's CERTAINLY fair to suggest that to say the least, without much analysis, we can say that this page implies that FB [intends] a better experience on browsers which are not Chrome or Safari. THAT is fair.

And it's bloody absurd. Chrome is now No. 1. And they knew that long before StatCounter had anything to say about it. I won't say "let's face the facts and say FB has a bone to pick with Apple/Google." But please don't go the opposite end of the extreme to argue that, "Oh, no, this page doesn't mean anything. Obviously FB supports [JUST ABOUT EVERY OTHER BROWSER NOT ON THAT LIST.]"

I mean, c'mon... By this reason, FB supports Netscape 2, Firefox 3, Camino, Lynx, etc. etc etc.

You're misunderstanding me. I'm not taking a position here or making an argument. I added the post because the headline and several of the comments seemed to imply belief that Facebook didn't support Chrome. They do, that's not what the joke/link/point/whatever was about.

I understand your sentiment. If that's the case, our concern should not be "what browsers are on the list"? It should be, like with Y!: "What does FB mean by 'support'?"

He clarified it for me: I thought that Facebook had stopped working on Chrome. :P

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Not to say that the people working at FB are stupid, but odds are that someone at FB made this page several years ago and this page has languished on the backburner with no attention since then.

I don't think this page wasn't updated for long time. It has IE logo of IE9+. So it was updated at least after IE9 release and by that time Chrome was major browser.

IE9 was released April Last year.



Good point. Still, I argue that FB doesn't have any sort of ulterior motive with not showing a webkit-based browser or what-have-you.

On the grounds that they are stupid?

Actually the old page (well, one version of it) didn't list IE at all.

Well they have funding from Microsoft, and Google is now their leading competitor...not like it's unexpected. They probably thought it was funny.

Hey, Opera got mentioned! That never happens :)

In this case all it means is that Facebook thinks it's harmless.

We had a similar page on a site I used to work on that mentioned Opera. I believe it was an error message you got when javascript was disabled. What was funny was that we did NOT support Opera.

It was brought up every release as a bug, but was always deemed to be a "not fix." I wonder if they ever took care of that.

Wow. Are they seriously pulling this one on Google? That seems so low to me.

I don't think it is unfair. The point is you'd always leave out something or the other. The objective is to get the person into a proper browser, without scaring them with way too many options - and not to be fully politically correct.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but I will say that I don't look at it from being fair vs. unfair. It's purely silly, based on Microsoft's and IE's browser credentials. IE is arguably the worst browser out there, and has been for some time. To see it first on a list of "we support these browsers" is comical.

As is including Firefox and Opera, but not the second most popular browser. Although it's very possible that they decided which browsers to include back in '09 or earlier and just haven't revisited the decision since.


That's out of date. Chrome is now the top browser, IIRC.

On ONE stat site. On all others its 2 or 3.

It's certainly an important browser market share wise tho.

Don't forget, they're also pulling this on Apple.

Chrome and Safari are both missing, even though they're the two most modern browsers available today. All the browsers they're suggesting are way behind WebKit-powered Chrome & Safari in terms of HTML5 support.

I can see why they wouldn't include Safari--it's not very good for Windows and anybody on Mac OS has it already (and probably up to date?).

Chrome, on the other hand, is a great browser on every platform (including Linux!) and automatically updates itself (which means that you only need to get somebody to switch to Chrome once rather than repeatedly like with newer versions of IE).

Also, I'm not sure Firefox is actually behind Webkit-based browsers in features and certainly not significantly. I suspect Opera is pretty good as well although I don't use it.

Arguably, IE isn't very good for my Mac, though.

That's an interesting euphemism for "hasn't been available for over a decade".

"All" meaning "one, maybe". Firefox has excellent (and often better than webkit) html5 support, so does Opera. Even IE10 is passable.

So, how much of the Google kool-aid have you ingested lately?

I think if you drink Google kool-aid and Apple kool-aid at the same time, it balances out.

With the single side effect that you become a WebKit nut, as evidenced above.

Wouldn't that mean you're drinking Konqueror kool-aid?

This is HN. If you have evidence to the contrary, present it rather than just making a snarky remark.

There's a subreddit on reddit about First World Problems. This doesn't even seem like it would qualify for that.

Sorry, I just don't get why this was voted up or is that important.

The fact that Chrome is not there implies a possible animosity towards Google, which makes this interesting.

I've worked at Facebook (internship). They use Chrome/Chromium extensively for development. My guess is that this is just not a high-priority thing to change. One of Facebook's mantras is "Focus on Impact" (others: "Move Fast", "Be Bold" …). This is not high impact.

There's even proof that they collaborate quite nicely: less than two weeks ago, Facebook engineers went to talk to Chrome DevTools engineers. Goal: improve Chrome's timeline to improve Facebook's Timeline, and vice versa. Source: https://plus.google.com/113127438179392830442/posts/Kgk78six....

Google and Facebook compete for advertising dollars. Chrome provides Google with user telemetry. The reasoning behind Facebook's selection of options is no different than the reason Google's search results pages lack "Like" buttons.

hacker news is jumping the shark.

I'm sure facebook has done this on purpose, because they've gone an extra mile to include Opera (though an excellent browser, it has a quite low market share), but not Chrome.

For clarity - they should add logos of all supported browsers and versions too. I guess they don't support IE5.

On a side note: Netflix doesn't support Chrome on new video player. Yesterday I was watching movie on Chrome and I was dumbfounded when I was given notification that this is not supported browser.

My question is, why do they have this page at all in the first place?

If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. If there's a known-bad client, it seems reasonable to me to show a notification of that fact on the "front" page. (Not being a Facebook user, I don't know how they might set it up.)

Wow, Opera over Safari even? It's obvious who Facebook feels is their competition now.

They don't need to promote Safari for Mac users. No one on Windows use safari. Safari does not belong to that page in my opinion.

They don't _need_ to support IE either, by this reasoning...

They might need to support recent versions of IE.

Why do you think that Facebook and Apple are rivals?

Because after talks between Steve Jobs and Zuck (last year, presumably about Facebook integration in Mac OS), Apple decided to go with Twitter integration.

Cool! I just downloaded IE 9 for Mac. Since they recommended it to me and all.

Also of note: all of those links are nofollowed. God forbid Facebook properly links to something it's explicitly, you know, linking to.

Almost more interesting than the omission of a browser from a vehemently self-declared rival is the omission of Flock & RockMelt, in my opinion. (They are, of course, browsers with “built-in social” & Facebook integration.)

Well, Flock is discontinued and both are really just re-skinned versions of Firefox.

That’s not even true — RockMelt is WebKit-based.

And obviously, it’s not the browser engine that is relevant, but rather the Facebook integration…

Same reason why facebook does not allow AdSense.

And here's how you'd actually induce this error, I suspect:


...so really, who is seeing this page who isn't aware of Chrome and Safari?

Um… Internet Explorer 6 users, whom are almost certainly the intended audience.

opera? wtf

Who the hell cares? Take a deep breath of chill the fuck out and don't read so much into things.

I doubt they spent much time debating which browsers to add here, or that this came out of a strategy meeting with Zuckerberg. I wouldn't be surprised if this was designed before Chrome was popular (perhaps with some styling fixes since then).

Even if they did exclude Chrome intentionally, they are entitled to promote whichever browsers they want to promote for whichever reasonable non-evil reasons they want.

Was it designed before Safari too? This is really pathetic. Nothing to get mad at but still ridiculous from Facebook.

You don't need to download Safari on the Mac and Safari on Windows is, well, not the best experience ever so I understand them not actively recommending it.

I actually saw someone in the wild using safari on windows. It was quite a shock.

Is it? With all the modern webkit only extensions and prefix usage, FB promoting browser diversity seems like strictly a good thing!

"really pathetic"?

I'm going to assume you've never done anything so pathetic in your life as to leave a web page with something less than the latest, greatest, most open sourcey, freedom-loving information.

Damn, you take things really personally.

What an oxymoron. This is a FORUM. People are supposed to voice their opinions.

But why get such an attitude over nothing? Seems pretty silly.

shrugs pale blue dot...

I'm not sure what attitude you are referring to. You may be reading a bit too much into this.

I was simply trying to draw some perspective - "really pathetic" is a bit of an overstatement for not linking to Chrome on a browser recommendation page, and we all make plenty of oversights each and every day, so shitting on others for them is bound to undermine your karma.

"Who the hell cares? Take a deep breath of chill the fuck out and don't read so much into things" is the attitude being referred to. It isn't exactly "Hi, you should consider this viewpoint..."

How is that him taking it personally, exactly? He's just giving an opinion, quite colorfully.

Thank you. I'd like to agree :)

Nothing personal about it.

Agreed, I would guess that very few people ever see this page, so it's likely to have a very small overall impact even though it comes from Facebook.

FWIW, I haven't been able to load my facebook newsfeed on Chrome for the last 3-4 days.

disable your extensions. It's working just fine in chrome for me.

i have been using a variety of extensions (bitly, etc.) for awhile now and have never had an issue like this before. I can log into fb, but nothing shows up on the initial page.

try it anyway- extensions update automatically in the background. I've definitely had issues with buggy extensions breaking sites.

Clear your cookies, or just your Facebook ones.

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