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Be careful who you BCC: in your emails

“To:, CC:, BCC:” – fields that are used in all emails. If you aren’t aware of what each one means. you really should. Check out a quick summary below:

To:

Contacts that you are emailing directly. This means that the content of the email will be addressed specifically to the recipient/s in this field. Or that’s the idea anyway! Something that you need to note is that all recipients will be able to view each other’s email addresses, so you have to make sure that you are not sending email details to strangers.

CC:

Also known as “Carbon Copy”, but the field implies that it is solely for information purposes only i.e. the content is not addressed specifically to you but what the email contains is useful to know about. All recipients can still see all email addresses in the “CC:” field in the same fashion as the “To:” field, so take note of who is receiving the email.

BCC:

Also known as “Blind Carbon Copy“, it works in the same way as the “CC:” field, with the key difference being that all recipients’ email addresses are hidden from each other, so that they cannot be viewed publicly. If you are using the “BCC:” field, a good practice is to add your email address in the “To:” field, ensuring that your address is the only one shown whilst letting people know that it is a group email.

So, what do people thing of using the “BCC:” field? Well, some consider it to be a sneaky habit as recipients are blind as to who else is reading the email, which in essence makes a private conversation “public”. However, it is also a very effective method of sending mass emails from an email client like Outlook or Gmail. It also stops any recipient hitting “Reply to all” accidentally and causing a mass spamming incident.

Before you send out your email, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this email business-related or not?
  • Would recipients get upset if you shared their email addresses with others, regardless of whether they know them or not?
  • Is the email discussion private? Do all recipients know this?

In the end, context is always key when you use the “BCC:” field and you should use your best judgement before adding email addresses to this field.