The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet,” Reddit, has promised to release a fix for its iOS app which spies on users by copying contents from iPhones’ clipboards. China-owned TikTok was recently caught by Apple using the same technique in its iPhone app.
The Verge reports that Reddit has promised to release a fix for its iOS app after it was discovered that the app was copying the contents of users’ clipboards. Users that were running the new iOS 14 beta firmware discovered this after receiving a system alert stating that the Reddit app was copying clipboard information.
A Reddit spokesperson told The Verge in an email: “We tracked this down to a codepath in the post composer that checks for URLs in the pasteboard and then suggests a post title based on the text contents of the URL. We do not store or send the pasteboard contents. We removed this code and are releasing the fix on July 14th.”
Reddit user Donald Morton posted a video to Twitter which showed the clipboard alerts:
UPDATE: Seems like Reddit is capturing the clipboard on each keystroke as well 😕
Seeing the notification come up just as much. pic.twitter.com/nzbElmRG2a
— Don urspace.io (@DonCubed) July 2, 2020
Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry, two iOS developers, raised concerns about the same issue in February and noted that dozens of apps engaged in similar practices. A new privacy feature in iOS 14 that alerts users to apps copying clipboard information has revealed that several popular apps engage in similar behavior.
The career-focused social media platform LinkedIn promised to stop the practice stating that the app was copying users’ clipboards to perform an “equality check” between what a user is typing and whats in their clipboard.
LinkedIn engineering VP Erran Berger wrote on Twitter: “We don’t store or transmit the clipboard contents.”
Hi @DonCubed. Appreciate you raising this. We've traced this to a code path that only does an equality check between the clipboard contents and the currently typed content in a text box. We don't store or transmit the clipboard contents.
— Erran Berger (@eberger45) July 3, 2020
Last week, Chinese-owned app TikTok was called out for similar behavior, the company stated that the practice was part of its “anti-spam” feature and that it would be discontinued.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org