BCC For Email: What It Means And When To Use It

What is BCC email field (blind carbon copy) and how does it differ to CC?


I wrote a guide on using CC in email, including what it is, how to use it, and the proper etiquette. As a follow-up, I'll do a deep dive on BCC, the close cousin of CC but more commonly referred to as an email body. So let us learn the difference between BCC and CC in a minute.

What is a BCC email? It means "blind carbon copy" and is similar to CC. If you include a person's email address in the BCC field, they'll receive a copy of the email. The difference is that their email address won't be displayed to the other people on the email chain.

When To Use BCC Email Instead Of To Or CC

There are several use cases where BCC for email is a good use instead of CC.

Mass Messaging

If you're sending an email to a large group of people, all at once, use BCC to protect your guests' privacy. Using BCC prevents any Reply All-related mishaps that send notifications to dozens of people who don't know each other.

Maintaining privacy

BCC could also be useful for copying someone if you want to maintain their privacy. For example, let's say you're networking and you'd like your boss to see your initial contact details. Being, your boss will keep them in the loop without accidentally revealing their information to a new person.

Sparing someone from a lengthy thread

BCC is a great way to keep someone copied while sparing them the confusion and annoyance of other responses. Because BCC protects a person from the threat of future Reply All messages, it's an excellent way to start a conversation but doesn't clutter up the inbox.

Inappropriate Uses For BCC

BCC is usually misused in various ways. This method is sometimes dishonest because it allows people to see a message without knowing it. The forms of misusing the BCC for email include;

Copying up

Copying up is a problem with CC, and it's even more significant when you use BCC. Being busy doesn't make this any better; you're still petty, and the boss will see you as spiteful. If there's a big enough issue that you need someone higher up to get involved, contact them directly.

Including an eavesdropper

It's a bad idea to use BCC as a way to clue someone into something they have no business seeing. An egregious example of this would be copying someone outside the company on a professional matter. A softer example would be BCCing, a friend on a reference letter you've written to their prospective employer.

Operating without transparency

BCC is also a problem if you're using it to circumvent the norms of transparency. If you're being disingenuous or intentionally hiding your professional practices, BCCing is a way of worsening your ethical breach. Be honest, and try not to use the BCC field for sneaky, fraudulent, or insincere purposes.

Mitigating Risk With BCC

If you absolutely must share a message with someone, don't include them in the To or CC field. Instead, forward them a copy of the message later. It still resides in some ethically ambiguous territory, but it should at least protect you from the awkwardness.


BCC isn't a great feature, and there are more ways to misuse it than to use it productively. If you must use BCC in email, use it with caution, and make sure you're implementing it in a way that works for all parties involved. It would also be essential to look into BCC vs CC and blind carbon copy for email. When you do this, you will get a clear picture of what they involve and why you should utilise one more than the other.

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