TikTok was caught spying on what we type in other apps, not once, but TWICE… so far.
Find out what’s going on, and what you should do about it!
TikTok : What Is It?
TikTok is a Chinese social networking service built around short video clips. Developed and owned by ByteDance which is based in Beijing, it is very popular amongst young people and even children.
This has led to numerous controversies as TikTok proved slow or reluctant to remove dangerous or racist videos :
- George Floyd Challenge Exposed : Racist + Dangerous!
- Tripping Jump / Skull Breaker Challenge : Warn Your Kids!
- Skull Breaker Challenge Continues To Injure Children!
- Skull Breaker TikTok Challenge : One Mother’s Warning!
- TikTok Finally Bans Deadly Skull Breaker Challenge!
TikTok Caught Spying What We Type In Other Apps… TWICE!
Beyond their obvious desire to grow their service at the expense of the danger to real people, there have been cybersecurity and privacy concerns about TikTok.
In a space of just four months, TikTok has been caught spying on what we type in OTHER APPS… not once, but TWICE. Take a look at this video expose…
TikTok Caught Spying On What We Type : First Time
Let’s start in March 2020, when Talal Has Bakry and Tommy Mysk exposed how they found that TikTok was spying on what we typed in other apps through the pasteboard / clipboard.
In the video above, you can see how TikTok immediately asked to read all text stored in the pasteboard, whenever it is launched.
The pasteboard contains everything you copied earlier – messages from other people, quotes from an article, or far more sensitive stuff like your password or account number.
And because of Apple’s universal clipboard feature, this means everything you copy on your Mac or iPad will be available on your iPhone, and therefore TikTok.
To be clear, TikTok was just one of the many apps that they found to be spying on what we type. Here were the apps they confirmed were spying on the pasteboard / clipboard.
Al Jazeera English
New York Times
The Huffington Post
The Wall Street Journal
|8 Ball Pool
Classic Bejeweled HD
Flip The Gun
Plants vs. Zombies Heroes
Pooking – Billiards City
Tomb of the Mask
Tomb of the Mask: Color
Total Party Kill
|10% Happier: Meditation
5-0 Radio Police Scanner
Bed Bath & Beyond
Pigment – Adult Coloring Book
Recolor Coloring Book to Color
The Weather Network
At that time, TikTok told Zak Doffman that it was Google Ads that was snooping into the pasteboard / clipboard.
“The clipboard access issues showed up due to third-party SDKs, in our case an older version Google Ads SDK. We are in the processes of updating so that the third-party SDK will no longer have access.“
They claimed it was because TikTok was using an older Google Ads SDK, which they have since replaced with a newer version.
TikTok Caught Spying On What We Type : Second Time
BFast forward to June, and the release of iOS 14 beta. The new clipboard warning feature in iOS 14 appears to have caught TikTok spying on the pasteboard / clipboard once again.
In the dramatic video shared by Jeremy Burge – the 1:35 point in our video above – he shows TikTok grabbing the contents of his iPhone’s clipboard every 1-3 keystrokes, as he typed in Instagram!
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
— Jeremy Burge (@jeremyburge) June 24, 2020
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
This is even more egregious than the first time they spied on the pasteboard / clipboard! Instead of just looking at what you copied into the clipboard earlier, TikTok is literally reading what you are typing in a different app!
TikTok claimed that this issue was “triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behaviour“, and that they have already submitted an updated app without this “anti-spam feature“.
TikTok Caught Spying : What Should YOU Do?
If you are not a frequent TikTok user, the answer is simple – UNINSTALL TikTok.
If you really like TikTok, you should immediately update to the latest version, which ByteDance claims will no longer read your clipboard because it has both an updated Google Ads SDK, as well as their anti-spam feature removed.
Either way, if you are concerned about privacy issues with TikTok, you should write to firstname.lastname@example.org and express your deep concerns about not letting them read what you are typing, whether it is in their app or other apps.
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