A lot of e-mail is passed on from one person to another. Even if the message is worthwhile, and not a chain-letter, hoax, trite holiday greeting or dumb joke, forwarding it can cause trouble if not done right.
When you simply send an e-mail to everyone in your address book, you are passing along your entire address book. If you are forwarding a message, you may also be sending out even more addresses. Everyone who gets it will now have a huge list of e-mail addresses. If it falls into the wrong hands, all of thise addresses are going to be plagued by spam.
Don’t think that it can’t happen because you are only sending mail to people you know. What if their e-mail account is hacked, or otherwise accessed by someone less scrupulous? Also, once a message is sent, you have no control over it. Can you be sure who will get it after it’s been passed on several more times?
Please be careful when sending e-mail to more than one person. Use the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) field for multiple recipients instead of “To” or “CC”. That way, a list of addresses will not be sent to everyone. When forwarding a message, either delete the previous addresses or — better yet — copy the essential message and paste it into a new e-mail.
It’s worth the extra minute or two. Giving out other people’s e-mail addresses without their permission is a breach of trust and a violation of their privacy. Friends don’t do that to friends.
Some useful links: