Sunday, March 05, 2006


Private Messages~How Private Are They? BEWARE!!!

I am having a problem with this, especially on advertised sites that which go to other well known sites, web pages, blogs, any anything they can find, to advertise that the members have the opportunity to send PRIVATE MESSAGES to one another--in privacy.

OK, anything on the Internet can be copied and pasted, per the discretion of the owner of the private message, to show up in forums, and many other ways, as they are now the owners of such material. Many times it is taken out of context, and it will be (and can be) expected--right or wrong, it happens.

That is NOT my question, but the question that really disturbs me, is: IF ADVERTISED that you have the right to Private Messages, who is allowed to read them, besides you and the one to whom it is addressed? And shouldn't the person reading, take into consideration what is being talked about, or have all the facts, before making assumptions or accusations? (before considering of what you as the sender or the one you send it to goes on?)

DOES the Owner or any of the staff (moderators) of this site have the right to READ your PRIVATE MESSAGES? (OK, I agree they do to a certain degree, if there is a problem--for example, problems that are concerned with the law, and their considerations, (example child issues, flaming or fighting crime~real problems that need to be investigated, might be a problem.)

I know personally of a web page site that reads PRIVATE MESSAGES, and when I heard about it for the 10th time (Or more) , I decided to research it, but guess what, it was down and under construction, with a broom as an ICON (Sweeping the dirt away.) At least it was a good ICON.
Not only that, but due to this website owners, operators, moderators, reading the PRIVATE MESSAGES, while unsuspecting users (members) did not know of, or did not expect, they were BANNED from this site, and bombarded (Should I capitalize BOMBARDED) with hateful emails, and with bullies in toll telling the user of how AWFUL they were, because of what the unexpected users wrote in PRIVATE MESSAGES. READ MY TYPE (since you cannot read my lips) PRIVATE MESSAGES!!

Since I am writing a book on Internet problems, I get these stories of PRIVATE MESSAGES being not so PRIVATE all the time. And from what I can tell, just a simple word or two was used, (non derogatory or not intentional trying to cause harm by the users) , expressing thoughts in PRIVATE MESSAGES.

I am very interested in this, and I am doing a great deal of research on this. My thoughts concerning PRIVATE MESSAGES, and meaning will be ten (10) fold, if not more. To me, it is kind of like opening mail delivered to you. Once you open it, you have the right to share with whomever, but until you do, I consider it PRIVATE. And should be protected by the word of PRIVATE.

Thoughts on this are appreciated.


  1. here's my take on PM's...
    "Why have them at all? Most sites, already have a way to comunicate ones thoughts on what someone else has posted. If a private message is should be done via email to that person...thus making it totally private!! If, however, people don't wish to post their email addresses on the site, then the person wishing a private interview, could post their own email address, and request the other person to write them. I did that very thing when I belonged to a certain site...and I wrote several people and told them our private messages were being read, and that what we said to each other was being taken out of context!! They all had the same reaction, which I'm sure I don't have to spell out!
    Having a private message system on a public site, gives the owner a means of eaves dropping so as to find out what people are saying. Give me a break!!! What a ruse! How deceitful and dishonest!! People who do this are just plain suspicious, and suspicion comes from insecurities. IMO, Private Messages just don't work. There is no way for the owner to not know what is going on, and butt in--add to that a suspicious, envious, jealous, mentally unstable owner, and you have what happens on this one particular site...esp. since the owner has a propensity for misunderstanding what people write anyway, as well as for taking things out of context! This owner has used PM's to justify her reasons for not wanting someone on her site, esp. someone who makes her look bad! She instigates trouble, usually with regard to what a person has said in a PM, and when the person reacts, it gives her the justification she needs (in her own mind), for kicking him or her off. Or, they leave in anger, which she then uses to defame them in her forums. Her dishonesty is in "not" relaying all the facts to the rest of the members. She just posts what is expedient to her cause... what makes her look the part of an innocent victim, thus soliciting the sympathy of her unsuspecting members. Lurking behind Private Messages to make sure no one is talking about you, or making fun of you, or saying something you don't personally like, is the worst kind of deception. I belong to another writing site where this sort of thing has never happened. That's because the owner is an accomplished writer and artist, and has the respect of the members of her site. She doesn't need to sit around and try to catch someone talking about her!"
    Argh!!! Well...these are my thoughts on the matter!!! You asked for them!!!

  2. Personally, I've never felt all that comfortable with any electronic form of communication, be it PM's, IM's, or e-mail. When you think that e-mail messages can be monitored (like they are where I work), it's a little hard to want to put down very private thoughts on anything that could be seen by more than the person intended. Someone from IT once said, "never say anything in an e-mail that you wouldn't want printed on the front page of the newspaper."

    Same goes for PM's on a private website, even one that is open to the public. Common courtesy would say to leave private messages private, but manners can get lost and privacy displaced. Truthfully, and this is a double-edged sword, a website is a private domain. While the administrator may open it to the public, it is still private and therefore the owner has a right to read anything that happens on that site. Much like you have the right to know if your guests are making off with your antique silver service. However, if you trust your guests, then you have no cause to spy on them or go through their luggage when they leave.

    Private messages are only as secure as the administrator of a website.

    I'm hoping this all made sense. I just realized how late it has become and how desperatly I need to get to sleep. :)


  3. Thanks Mid and ms. Karen,

    Both of you bring out a great deal of what needs to be responded to, concerning this subject. And yes, I did ask for it, and glad that you both responded with much thought, as well as personal experience and opinion that lead you to your response. Well said, and I think all who read this blog and comments, will understand your replies placed into your thoughts.

    I am hoping to soon write another blog concerning this, as I have done more research into Private Messages, with both of your thoughts, and replies, and what is VAST on the Internet concerning Private Messages.

    What I have uncovered or discovered in this, is that some think that PM, now stands for Personal Message (google this, and not surprised to say, Scarlet wrote on this, after I wrote this blog) but from what I have found, personal and private are still pretty close related. I guess, all in all, be very careful who you respond to, personal, private and as ms. Karen pointed out, even in email. Excellent point.

    Will write blog soon on this, and thank you for your responses. It gives me much to think about.