Blind carbon copy, often shortened to BCC, can be a misleading term. Two reasons for this are because blind carbon copying does not involve carbon and it does not involve paper. BCC is a term that refers to an option available with most email applications. This option allows duplicate messages to be sent without sharing each recipient’s information with other recipients.
Carbon can be inserted between two pieces of paper. Doing this will allow information written on the top page to be copied onto the page beneath, hence the term carbon copy. When this term is used with reference to the Internet, however, carbon is not actually used. Instead, the method is completely electronic.
It should be noted that a carbon copy (CC) on the Internet is not the same as a blind carbon copy. The difference is that when a carbon copy is sent, all recipients can see the addresses of all of the other recipients. With a blind carbon copy, recipients cannot see any addresses that are listed in the BCC field. Recipients listed in the BCC can, however, see those listed in the TO and CC fields.
The blind carbon copy field usually appears below the CC field in an email application. It may not automatically appear with the other options when a person opens a new email. In some cases, there will be a link or toggle switch that needs to be clicked to reveal the BCC field. It should be noted that such fields are rarely identified by the full term and a person should look for the abbreviation.
This field can be used like the other recipient fields. Multiple email addresses can be entered and are usually required to be separated by a comma. There is generally a maximum number of recipients that may be entered. Some email applications will not allow an email to be sent without at least one address listed in the main recipient field. When this is the case, it is nearly impossible to prevent the recipients from knowing they are receiving a copied document.
There are a number of reasons people use the blind carbon copy option. Some people are very concerned with protecting the privacy of others. They, therefore, use this option to prevent sharing the names and addresses of their recipients. In other cases, people may want to send a blind carbon copy to themselves without the primary recipient knowing.