Reddit says it’s releasing a fix for a bit of code that copied contents from users’ clipboards. Users in a beta version of iOS 14, which sends an alert when an app tries to copy clipboard information, reported receiving the alerts with each keystroke in Reddit’s iOS app.
“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,” a Reddit spokesperson wrote in a contact to The Verge. “We do not store or send the pasteboard contents. We removed this code and are releasing the fix on July 14th.”
User Donald Morton posted a video of the matter to Twitter:
UPDATE: Seems like Reddit is capturing the clipboard on each keystroke as well
Seeing the notification come up as much. pic.twitter.com/nzbElmRG2a
— Don urspace.io (@DonCubed) July 2, 2020
Two iPhone developers, Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry, raised concerns about clipboard-copying behavior back in February, noting that a large number of apps were engaged in the practice.
The privacy feature in iOS 14, that is still in a limited beta for developers, has unveiled several apps engaging in clipboard copying in recent weeks. LinkedIn said Friday it would stop the practice, explaining its app was doing so to execute an “equality check” between what a user is typing and what’s in their clipboard. “We don’t store or transmit the clipboard contents,” LinkedIn engineering VP Erran Berger wrote on Twitter. The company didn’t explain why the practice was in place to begin with.
TikTok, which has faced criticism for privacy concerns on its app in the past, was called out for similar clipboard-copying behavior last week. The company said the practice was element of an “anti-spam” feature and that it absolutely was being discontinued.
A public beta of iOS 14 is expected in the next couple weeks and it’s likely that the clipboard privacy feature may reveal more apps engaged in this dubious behavior.
UPDATE: July 4th 11:08AM ET: Added context about devs raising concerns about clipboard copying right back in February.