Law Enforcement Data Request Guidelines

Last updated: August 30, 2018

These operational guidelines are a reference for law enforcement officials seeking information from us about user activity on TikTok. Musical.ly, Inc. (“Musical.ly” or “Company”) may change these guidelines at any time, without notice.

TikTok's policy on responding to law enforcement requests

TikTok is committed to assisting law enforcement while respecting the privacy and rights of its users. To obtain non-public user information, law enforcement must provide the appropriate legal documents required for the type of information being sought, such as a subpoena, court order, or warrant, or submit an emergency request.

What information may be available in response to a lawful request?

The following information may be available in response to an enforceable law enforcement request:

  • Subscriber Information

    User account information is collected when a user registers a new account or otherwise revises applicable fields within the application (“Account Information”). Note, some of the categories listed below are not required to create an account. Account Information may include:

    • Username

    • First and last name

    • Email address

    • Phone number

    • Device Model

    • Account creation date and IP address used upon account creation

    This information can be obtained through a valid subpoena (administrative, grand jury or trial), a court order issued pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 2703 (d) or a warrant.

  • Video Content

    The TikTok app allows users to create and upload videos (“Videos”). These videos may either be saved privately (“Private Videos”) or posted to the TikTok app and made available to registered users (“Public Videos”). Unless an account has been set to private or the Public Video has been deleted by the user, Public Videos are available to law enforcement through the TikTok app and are therefore not provided via a Data Request.

    This information is available only pursuant to a warrant.

  • User Interactions

    The TikTok app allows users to interact with each other through comments to videos, direct messages, and live chats.

    This information is available only pursuant to a warrant

  • Log Data

    TikTok retains logs which may include metadata regarding account logins and logouts, user generated content (e.g., file creation and modification dates), and in-app communications (e.g., to/from and timestamp information). The logs do not include the actual content of any user generated files or in-app communications.

    This information is available pursuant to a court order under 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d) or a warrant.

What information about the user must I include in my request?

When requesting information regarding a specific user of our services, you must provide the username of the relevant account. We are unable to locate an account based on the real name, email address, phone number, or other account information.

What information regarding the requesting party must I include?

Each request must include contact information for the authorized law enforcement official submitting the request, including:

  • Requesting agency name;

  • Requesting agent name and badge/identification number;

  • Requesting agent employer-issued email address;

  • Requesting agent phone contact, including any extension;

  • Requesting agent mailing address (P.O Box will not be accepted); and

  • Requested response date (see details below for emergency requests).

Will TikTok honor preservation requests?

Yes. TikTok will honor formal requests to preserve user information for 90 days. TikTok will preserve information for an additional 90-day period upon receipt of a formal request to extend the preservation. We may not honor multiple extension requests beyond one additional 90-day period. If TikTok does not receive formal legal process for the preserved information before the end of the preservation period, the preserved information may be deleted when the preservation period expires.

Preservation requests must be sent on law enforcement letterhead, signed, and must include information regarding the specific username to be preserved. In addition, the preservation request must include a statement about the steps being taken to obtain a court order or other legal process for the data sought.

How do I serve a data or preservation request on TikTok?

Please send all preservation and/or data requests via email to legal@tiktok.com. Receipt of correspondence is for convenience only and TikTok does not waive any objections, including the lack of jurisdiction or proper service. TikTok will not respond to data or preservation requests for user information sent by non-law enforcement officials.

What should I do if I have an emergency request for data?

TikTok evaluates emergency requests on a case-by-case basis. If we receive information that gives us a good faith belief that there is an emergency involving imminent harm to a child or the risk of death or serious physical injury to a person, we may provide information necessary to prevent that harm, as permitted by applicable law.

You may submit an emergency request by email to legal@tiktok.com with the subject “Emergency Disclosure Request” and include all of the following information:

  • Identify the person who is in danger of death or serious physical injury, or the child who is at risk of imminent harm;

  • The nature of the emergency;

  • The relevant account information for the user(s) whose information is necessary to prevent an emergency;

  • The specific information requested and why that information is necessary to prevent the emergency; and

  • All other available details or context regarding the circumstances.

All emergency requests must be in writing on official letterhead, signed by a sworn law enforcement official, and, if sent via email, come from an official law enforcement email domain. Click here to download the Emergency Disclosure Request Form.

Non-law enforcement personnel aware of an emergency situation should immediately and directly contact local law enforcement officials.

Does the process differ for requests from international governmental authorities?

International governmental authorities should use the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (“MLAT”) request or letters rogatory process to seek user information from Musical.ly. Musical.ly will review and respond to properly submitted preservation requests while the MLAT or letters rogatory process is underway.

Will TikTok notify users of requests for account data?

In submitting a request for data concerning a particular user, law enforcement officials should note whether notification of the user would jeopardize the underlying investigation. TikTok will honor a law enforcement request not to notify the user under such circumstances.

Further, if your request places TikTok on notice of an ongoing or prior violation of our terms, we will take action to prevent further abuse, including account termination and other actions that may notify the user that we are aware of their misconduct. If you believe in good faith that taking such actions will jeopardize your ongoing investigation, you may request that TikTok defer such action in your request and TikTok will take your request under advisement. It is the responsibility of the requesting law enforcement official to make this request, as it is TikTok’s policy to enforce its terms.

Are there costs associated with TikTok's process of preservation and/or data requests?

TikTok reserves the right to seek reimbursement for the costs associated with responding to law enforcement data requests.