A good example would be TikTok, in which it appears that users who recently installed the iOS 14 preview on their iPhones were discovering that TikTok was accessing their clipboard more often than they should, leading to privacy concerns. For those unfamiliar, one of the privacy features built into iOS 14 will alert users whenever an app reads your device’s clipboard. This is how users were discovering that TikTok was frequently accessing their clipboards.
In a statement made to The Telegraph, TikTok said that this was done not as an invasion of the user’s privacy, but it was supposed to be used as an anti-spam feature. “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.”
Okay so TikTok is grabbing the contents of my clipboard every 1-3 keystrokes. iOS 14 is snitching on it with the new paste notification pic.twitter.com/OSXP43t5SZ
— Jeremy Burge (@jeremyburge) June 24, 2020
Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time TikTok was caught doing so. A report from March revealed that many apps, such as TikTok, were quietly accessing their users’ clipboards. The company stated back then that they would be ending the practice, but it is clear that based on this discovery that they were continuing to do so months after.