Facebook app on Android and iOS silently monitors clipboard contents

Facebook app on Android and iOS silently monitors clipboard contents

A new version of the Facebook app on iOS and Android silently accesses your clipboard. Some users report a popup appears asking them whether they want to paste the last copied URL when they want to post a status update on the social network.

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It’s unclear whether the new feature is an experiment or that it will be rolled out to all users. So far only a limited group of users report the feature is enabled for them.

The fact that Facebook somehow has access to the clipboard of the smartphone has raised questions with privacy aware users. It’s unclear how the company is able to access and monitor the clipboard. It’s normal that every app can use copy and paste inside the app, but it’s unclear how the mobile operating systems deal with clipboard monitoring from content placed there by other apps.

Users that found that Facebook monitors their clipboard are therefore concerned and surprised. Both iOS and Android don’t ask permission for apps to gain access to the content of the clipboard. This means that (in theory) apps can access the clipboard and send its content to a (third-party) server which would be a major privacy concern.