#Alert: TikTok reads the content of clipboard on iPhones
Hours after iOS 14 preview went live, testers discovered its ability to alert when an app reads clipboard. The feature was welcomed by users around the world, but soon, it red-flagged Chinese video app TikTok, raising major privacy concerns around its access to clipboard data. Now, the ByteDance-owned service has clarified its stance on the matter and confirmed it would stop the controversial practice.
TikTok accessing clipboard way too frequently
According to a report in The Telegraph, a number of users who installed the first iOS 14 beta were alerted about TikTok repeatedly accessing the content of their clipboard. They found that the video-sharing service was copying and pasting content after every 2-3 keystrokes. Many even demonstrated the access through videos, highlighting how frequently iOS was alerting about the app's access to the clipboard.
Here's the issue in action
Hey @tiktok_us, why do you paste from my clipboard every time I type a LETTER in your comment box? Shout out to iOS 14 for shining a light on this HUGE invasion of privacy. inb4 they say it was a "bug" pic.twitter.com/MHv10PmzZS— Maxel (@MaxelAmador) June 25, 2020
Evidently, this raised privacy concerns
As the issue surfaced, users took it to Twitter, criticizing TikTok and calling the matter a huge invasion of privacy and data theft. Clipboards, as many know, temporarily store text that has been copied or pasted and can often host confidential information like usernames and passwords, among other things. Notably, other apps were also accessing clipboards but not that frequently.
Soon, TikTok issued a clarification
As the issue surfaced, TikTok clarified its stance on the matter and said it is making changes to prevent clipboard access. "This was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior," TikTok told The Telegraph. "We have already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion."
Android changes remain unclear
While the iOS version of TikTok should be fixed, there is no clarity over the case of the Android version, which has also been spotted accessing clipboard in the past. Also, running into issues like these does not help the company's case, which has been battling several controversies including blocking content critical of the Chinese government and allowing misogynistic videos, among other things.