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Irresponsible Fake News Forwarders

Do you know an irresponsible forwarder or two, or three or five?

It’s becoming second nature to some. Get an email with the tone or POV you agree with, and off it goes to “all your friends.” Regardless of whether it is accurate or based on any fact or reality.

Go ahead and forward. Properly.

Forwarding is okay if done correctly. And if you know for a fact the recipients don’t mind you doing so.

However, there are those irresponsible forwarders forwarding to all they know regardless of if the email would be of interest to “all.” Displaying all their friend’s email addresses in the To: or Cc: field. Without thinking, they have just exposed all their friend’s addresses to total strangers.

Forwards, Privacy and Hoaxes, Oh My!

The fact the content of the email is inaccurate or plain old B.S. doesn’t matter. Breaching their contact’s privacy isn’t bad enough; these irresponsible forwarders are not thinking twice about perpetrating bogus information.

They are not taking the time to verify these forwards and, in the process, end up looking ignorant. Every onliner is responsible for ensuring that the emails they forward are not “fake news” or hoaxes.

All one has to do is go to TruthOrFiction.com. Then, search for the email in question and confirm if it is an urban legend or hoax before hitting that forward button.

You are personally responsible for each email you send. Just as you will be accountable when it is discovered, you forward erroneous information as if it were true.

Prune First

Before you forward any previously forwarded email, you also need to take the time to do a little pruning. First, remove any email addresses of those you don’t know before forwarding the message.

Look in the body of the message for the forwards that contain addresses. Stop right there and remove those addresses from your forward.

Just because the person who forwarded it to you was indiscreet and did not respect others’ privacy does not mean you behave in the same manner. If you cannot take a moment to remove the visible email addresses in the body of a message, then you should not forward them at all.

As if this perpetual breach of privacy doesn’t warrant a good spanking for all involved, what then happens makes matters worse. Onliners who have nothing in common but the sender are then assuming that they can hit Reply to All: and send their comments or opinions to everyone on the list.

Some even add those addresses to their business lists and spam these folks about stuff they didn’t ask for. Unfortunately, many incorrectly presume that it is okay to do so because those addresses are right there for the replying. Wrong.

The Smell of Irony

What then ensues is the forwarder, who made the initial breach of privacy (by not using the BCc: field to contain all their contact’s addresses), actually has the nerve to get upset. They scold their friend who hit Reply to All: telling them they had “no right” to email *their* friends.

The sender exposes their friend’s email addresses to people they don’t know and then dares to get irritated when those addresses are used. The initial fault lies with the sender, who could have easily avoided all of this by dutifully listing those email addresses in the BCc: field.

Or how about the person who forwarded an email with clearly false information. Although you wouldn’t mind so much if the info were valid, it isn’t.

Once this happened to me, and in my reply, I noted, “BTW, this is not true.” with a link to the hoax page that showed the email was over the top crazy. Their response? “Haven’t you ever sent information you didn’t know as true?” Nope.

3 Easy Steps

There are three easy steps to solve this dilemma.

  1. First, verify anything you forward as true and accurate before doing so. If you can’t, don’t forward.
  2. Every time you feel the desire to “forward to all your friends,” — respect your friend’s privacy by putting all email addresses in the BCc: field. If you have “friends” that expose your email address in this manner to onliners you don’t know, let them know in no uncertain terms that you do not appreciate their indiscretion.
  3. Lastly, if you know a sender who doesn’t respect their contact’s privacy by using the BCc: field, that does not permit you to Reply to All: and send your most likely unwanted commentary to strangers.

Be more intelligent and courteous than those that just forward without thought or concern for the truth or others’ privacy. It will be appreciated by all those you do forward to.

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