LinkedIn plans to stop its app from repeatedly copying the contents of an iOS device’s clipboard, after a user highlighted the seemingly privacy-invasive practice earlier this week. ZDNet reports that LinkedIn called the behavior a bug.
The app copies clipboard contents in order to perform an “equality check” between what a user is typing and what’s in their clipboard, according to LinkedIn engineering VP Erran Berger. Berger did not say why this check was necessary. “We don’t store or transmit the clipboard contents,” Berger wrote on Twitter.
The behavior was discovered thanks to a new privacy feature in iOS 14, which is currently in a limited beta for developers. The operating system now notifies users when an app copies something from another app or device. This has led to people spotting questionable behavior from apps that appear to copy clipboard contents with every keystroke.
Here is LinkedIn copying and pasting from my notes app “Bear” pic.twitter.com/CsjocmjUm4— Don urspace.io (@DonCubed) July 2, 2020
LinkedIn was called out in a tweet on Thursday from a person who said LinkedIn’s iPad app was copying contents from other sources, such as a notes app. A LinkedIn spokesperson pointed The Verge to Berger’s tweet when asked for comment. Berger wrote that LinkedIn would follow up “once the fix is live in our app.”
TikTok was called out for similar behavior last week. The app similarly appeared to be repeatedly grabbing clipboard contents as a user typed, leading to concern that it was spying on data from other apps. TikTok said the behavior was part of an “anti-spam” feature and that it would discontinue the practice.
As iOS 14 rolls out more widely — a public beta is expected in the coming weeks — it’s likely we’ll learn of other apps with similarly discomforting clipboard copying behaviors.