That Facebook PDF – They Should Have Used Bluebeam

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Did you hear? Earlier this week the Associated Press revealed Facebook’s internal valuation, which was much less than previously believed. How did the super sleuths at the AP find this figure? They came across a PDF of a court document that appeared to have been redacted. But since someone made a serious redaction failure, the AP was able to use copy and paste to discover Facebook’s real value.

I know what you’re thinking – “What’s redaction?” Let me explain.

PDF redaction is a tool for permanently removing sensitive data from a PDF file (think social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc.). To the reader’s eye, a redacted area of a PDF simply looks like the words are covered with a black box. But redaction does so much more. The tool actually removes that data from underneath the black box and the PDF content stream. This means, once something is redacted from a PDF, it’s gone for good.

In the case of the Facebook PDF, someone made a BIG boo boo. Instead of using a real redaction tool, they just covered up text with colored boxes. Ergo – the text was still in the PDF, just hidden behind annotations. That’s why the AP was able to use copy and paste to discover Facebook’s real value. Now, for what it’s worth, I don’t care what Facebook’s actual value is. I will still log on daily to throw sheep at my friends.

But, back to the topic at hand – redaction. If you need to permanently remove text or images from a PDF, don’t just cover it with a black rectangle, redact it! Bluebeam PDF Revu has a redaction tool. It’s pretty straightforward, but if you have any questions about how to use it, by all means, call or email us (that includes our friends at Facebook). And remember to keep on PDF’ing!

-Karen

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2 Responses to “That Facebook PDF – They Should Have Used Bluebeam”

  1. Steve P Says:

    By the way, you can properly redact content using Acrobat Pro!

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