When private emails are made public, everyone loses

There are 2 news items that came up consistently yesterday in my facebook feed. One was the tweet that Evan, the CEO of Snapchat shared, in which he showed the private email exchange between Mark Zuckerberg and himself.

Snapchat tweet
Evan Tweet

This was a private email sent from Mark to Evan, which he made public.

Another one was from the founder of Zomato, Deepinder who also shared a private email (now deleted) from Satyan of Times of India.

Some thoughts:

First I always assume that every email I send, will be made public. So I write like I am speaking to the person in a public forum.

That said, I am disappointed that they chose to make the emails public. I think a paraphrase would have sufficed.

Second, I am actually glad that both Mark and Satyan reached out instead of the other way around. Shows that both these folks are aggressive, not willing to wait for things to come to them, even though the run large, established businesses.

Finally even if they did choose to make their emails public, it would have been better to have gotten approval from the sender before doing so.

What do you think? Are emails sent from one person to another private or available for everyone else to view?

11 thoughts on “When private emails are made public, everyone loses”

  1. if Evan’s intention was to let the world know that Mark in interested in Snapchat, this is proof. Else I see no reason to make private email public

  2. Agree with you 100%! Poor taste to share emails that I sent without my permission! These are yellow flags that would raise in me about a person when I start dealing with them!

  3. This email was shared in response to Forbes and says completely the opposite what Evan told the reporters on voice recorder. He had revealed it after the article about him bragging how he shoved of Zuck made much noise and got tons of negative feedback. So personally I believe it is a lame Photoshop’ed excuse.

  4. It is private and should be taken approval from the sender first. It is very cheap to share email without permission.

  5. Am still recovering from an email that my husband fwded to his sister without my knowledge:( Low blow.

  6. Zomato’s case – The tweet was not just poor judgement, it was downright rude and arrogant. Don’t know the point one was trying to make.

    It is one thing to make private emails public. It is another to use those emails against the sender, to ridicule them in public. Atleast in snapchat’s case, it was meant to serve as an “explanation”. Unlike the other case.

    Being from the community, I felt disappointed. Half-praying that this incidence doesnt dissuade people from reaching out to each other. Be it for anything…

  7. Disclosing private emails without consent of parties is unethical and unprofessional. Zomato needs a professional PR team to avoid these blunders in future.

    Something similar happened when “Foodiebay” was rebranded as “Zomato”. While founders told interesting stories as to why they renamed, the actual reason was that they were sued by eBay, as Foodiebay clearly infringed upon eBay’s trademarks right from day 1.

    I have discussed this case study along with copy of legal notice of trademark opposition sent by eBay to Zomato (then Foodiebay): http://techcorplegal.com/Blog_Technology_Law_Business_Research/2013/07/02/law-for-startups/


  8. Any transaction between two parties are governed by law and moral/ethical/social protocols. Law does not prohibit publishing private emails in public domain. Therefore it is the question of moral/ethical/social protocols. Can a precedence be drawn with the verbal conversation between two parties in private? Do we broadly agree that there is no guarantee that such a conversation will remain private in all the cases? The difference is, it is difficult to broadcast a private verbal message to wider public as easily as an email could be. It is very difficult for me to reach a conclusion. I think that the question will remain open for debate based on personal opinion of people.

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