Did you know if a Sender puts addresses in the BCc: field of an e-mail that there is no way for you to know that? How would you feel if you found out that other unknown contacts are recipients of an email that is visually only appears to be addressed to you?
Not good, right? I don’t blame you. For the most part we assume that our e-mail communications are between us and the people whose e-mail addresses we can visibly see. Sadly, hiding e-mail addresses in the BCc: field for the wrong reasons is more common than many may surmise.
Time and Place for Everything
Here is a good analogy. BCc: is akin to having a phone conversation on a speakerphone without informing the other side.
What are the E-mail Etiquette considerations for hiding recipient’s names from others getting the very same e-mail? The only good reason is to protect their privacy.
For example, if the Sender is trying to protect the privacy of their contacts by not exposing their addresses to those they do not know. Particularly when sending to a group of contacts in a mass e-mail.
But, if the Sender is copying others on a conversation via the BCc: without the recipient’s knowledge that is a questionable approach.
BCc’ing for the wrong reasons can backfire. If you are e-tattling or copying others who are not related to the conversation to share what is being exchanged purely to gossip — shame on you!
Most assume that e-mails are intended for our eyes only. To reply then BCc: others who are not related to the conversation speaks to your character. To e-tattle, CYA or include other uninvolved parties will only serve to reflect negatively on you.
If at any point your use of BCc: is exposed — credibility lost.
However, if the group of contacts that were BCc’d do not know each other, putting their e-mail addresses in the BCc: field to protect the privacy is the proper thing to do. When contacts all know each other and don’t mind having their e-mail addresses exposed, the question then becomes, what was the Sender’s motive in BCc’ing folks on a correspondence?
Motive is key…