Apple on Monday debuted their upcoming new mobile operating system, iOS 14. The new operating system gives users more control over the data each app has access to. One of the new features is a banner alert telling users when an app is accessing and pasting from the clipboard. The new feature has exposed the popular TikTok app as a culprit that does it on a regular basis.
Several reports shared on the web have mentioned TikTok as one of the apps that users are being regularly alerted to as reading the user clipboard. The new privacy banner makes regular appearances on the screen while the app is running. This is not only annoying but is also worrying for users that fear TikTok may be grabbing their personal information without permission.
However, TokTok told The Telegraph that the app is not collecting data from the clipboard but is instead the alert is bring triggered by a customer feature designed to identify repetitive spam behavior. TikTok says it will make a change to no longer automatically access user clipboards with a future update to the app.
For TikTok, this was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior. We have already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion. TikTok is committed to protecting users’ privacy and being transparent about how our app works.
This isn’t the first time that TikTok has been found to be accessing the clipboard. Other apps that have been found to constantly check the iOS clipboard include AccuWeather, Overstock, AliExpress, Call of Duty Mobile, Patreon, and Google News.
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
It will be interesting to watch in the coming days how many other apps are discovered to be operating in a less than private way and that are exposed by iOS 14’s new privacy features.