Anyone who has a number of friends with access to cell phones will understand what is meant by the term "group text." That means someone will broadcast a text to a number of different phone numbers, and every time one goes through, each person on the thread will receive notification.

Most group texts are well-meaning; those who send them are intending to send information to as many people as they deem need it, and as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, polls show that a huge percentage of individuals consider group texts annoying, time-consuming, and in some cases, downright dangerous.

Just as with social media, texts can be duplicated – what Facebook users often call "cloning." In the latter case, a friend request will seemingly come from someone whom the recipient may know, and that person will accept the request without question. That happens even when the person sending the request is already on the recipient's "friends" list. Perhaps, the recipient suspects, the person sending the request has forgotten his or her password, and had to start an account from scratch.

Cloned accounts aren't always dangerous per se, unless the person accepting the friend request is inclined to give out personal information – which sometimes, the trolls request. But even when information isn't being solicited, clone accounts can be used in other ways – for instance, to discover what a person likes or dislikes, whom he or she follows, and other details that can be used to mine more private information.

The same thing can be true of group texts. You can't always tell who is on these texts, just on the basis of other phone numbers – at least, not unless you go through the entire list and compare entries with numbers in your cell directory. And who has time to do that these days?

With as many trolls, creepers, political operatives and other miscreants lurking about in cyberspace, group texts and messages aren't necessarily a good idea these days. In fact, many IT experts are suggesting that when you receive one, you delete it – unless the group is small and you know the precise identity of everyone included. If you don't, it's not worth the risk.

And even if group texts are above board and awash in good intent, regular senders ought to rethink their strategy. Take the time to go one on one, or at least in batches of a half-dozen folks or fewer. It's safer that way, and less irritating to the "victims."

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