BCC – Blind Carbon Copy is an address field in an email
BCC is an abbreviation for Blind Carbon Copy and means blind copy. This blind copy is sent during correspondence via e-mail without the “set to blind” recipient being noticed by others. A big plus of BCC is that it is protected against spambots. These malicious programs cannot yet read email addresses from BCC entries. The printout originates from a time when emails were not common in business correspondence and copies were made on a typewriter using carbon paper. This carbon copy was given to colleagues or business partners for their perusal if the letter itself was not addressed directly to them. This term carbon copy (CC) has found its way into modern communication via email.
Different address lines in an email
In the case of an email, various recipients can be specified in the so-called header of the individual email programs. If one or more e-mail addresses are entered here, all recipients are visible to all others. If an email is sent to a recipient in CC, then this recipient is visible to all other recipients. However, it is clear that this email is not addressed directly to the CC recipient, but was sent for information only. In business correspondence, there are numerous reasons for keeping addresses private. This is when the BCC address field comes into play. The BCC recipient is not visible to others, but the recipient can see the entries in the to and CC fields.
How individual mail programs handle BCC
Mail programs and mail servers handle BCC entries differently depending on their configuration. Many mail programs remove the BCC field from the header before transmission and the message is transmitted to all recipients, whether BCC or not. For BCC recipients it is then not apparent that they have only received a blind copy. Should they reply to the mail, there is a risk that they will mail all addresses and thus it will be known afterwards that they have received the mail secretly. Some servers send emails separately for CC entries and BCC fields. While all publicly visible recipients receive an email with the BCC line deleted, a copy is delivered to the BCC recipient. Here, there is a possibility that BCC email recipients can see only their own or also the mail addresses of other BCC recipients.
In another practice, the BCC line is completely removed during transmission, but all recipients are signaled that the email was also sent as a blind copy. However, the BCC recipients cannot identify each other.
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