Guidelines for law enforcement
- What is Twitter?
- What account information does Twitter have?
- Data retention information
- How to locate a Twitter UID, Periscope username, or Periscope broadcast
- Preservation requests
- Requests for Twitter account information
- Emergency disclosure requests
- Mutual legal assistance treaties
- Content removal requests
- Assisting a Twitter user
- Where to submit requests
- Contact information
Twitter is a real-time global information network that lets users create and share ideas and information instantly. People and organizations send messages through our website and mobile site, client applications (e.g., Twitter for Android; Twitter for iOS), SMS, or any variety of third-party applications.
Twitter is provided to people who live in the United States by Twitter, Inc., a company based in San Francisco, California. Twitter is provided to people who live outside the United States by Twitter International Company, a company based in Dublin, Ireland.
Twitter provides photo hosting for some image uploads (i.e., pic.twitter.com images) as well as Twitter account profile photos, and header photos. However, Twitter is not the sole photo provider for images that may appear on the Twitter platform. More information about posting photos on Twitter.
Twitter provides video hosting for some videos uploaded to Twitter (i.e., pic.twitter.com videos) as well as those posted to Periscope. Please note that Twitter is not the sole video provider for videos that may appear on the Twitter platform.
Links shared on Twitter, including links shared in Direct Messages, will automatically be processed and shortened to an http://t.co link. When you see a http://t.co link, this is not an indication that the video or image is hosted by Twitter.
Periscope is a standalone mobile service that lets users create and share real-time video broadcasts. Please see the Periscope Privacy Statement for more information on the data we collect from and about Periscope users, and visit the Periscope Help Center for more information about Periscope. Users may sign up for a Periscope account without having or associating a corresponding Twitter account.
In October 2016, we announced that the Vine mobile application would be shutting down. We transitioned the Vine app to a pared-down Vine Camera. Users may now generate six-second looping videos with this app and post them directly to their Twitter account or save them to their phone.
NOTE: Once an account has been deactivated, there is a very brief period in which we may be able to access account information, including Tweets. More information about deactivated accounts is available here. Content removed by account holders (e.g., Tweets) is generally not available.
Locating a Twitter UID
- Log out of Twitter
- Navigate to the account's Twitter profile through your desktop web browser (e.g. https://twitter.com/twittersafety (@twittersafety).
- Right-click anywhere on the profile page and select 'View Page Source' in Chrome. There will be a similar option in all major web browsers to view the page source.
- Use the find function (cmd+f on Mac, and CTRL+f for PC) to search for the following string in the page source text: div class="ProfileNav" role="navigation" data-user-id=
- The number that follows the "=" in the above search string is the account's UID. For example, the UID for https://twitter.com/twittersafety (@twittersafety) is 95731075.
- NOTE: These instructions work for all Twitter accounts, whether Tweets are public or protected. You can find more information on how to retrieve the ‘userid’ as a standard part of the user object in our REST API.
Locating a Periscope username or broadcast
Read our instructions on how to locate a Periscope username.
We accept requests from law enforcement to preserve records, which constitute potentially relevant evidence in legal proceedings. We will preserve, but not disclose, a temporary snapshot of the relevant account records for 90 days pending service of valid legal process.
Preservation requests, in accordance with applicable law, should:
- be signed by the requesting official;
- have a valid return official email address; and be sent on law enforcement letterhead;
- include the @username and URL of the subject Twitter profile (e.g. https://twitter.com/twittersafety (@twittersafety), and/or the Twitter account's unique, public user identification number or UID or a Periscope username and URL (e.g., @twittersafety and https://periscope.tv/twittersafety). To locate a Twitter UID see here or to locate a Periscope username see here.
We may honor requests for extensions of preservation requests, but encourage law enforcement agencies to seek records through the appropriate channels in a timely manner, as we cannot guarantee that requested information will be available.
Law enforcement and government preservation requests for user information may be submitted through our Legal Request Submissions site (t.co/lr or http://legalrequests.twitter.com). You can find further instructions below.
Requests for user account information from law enforcement should be directed to Twitter, Inc. in San Francisco, California or Twitter International Company in Dublin, Ireland. Twitter responds to valid legal process issued in compliance with applicable law.
Non-public information about Twitter users will not be released to law enforcement except in response to appropriate legal process such as a subpoena, court order, or other valid legal process – or in response to a valid emergency request, as described below.
Requests for the contents of communications (e.g., Tweets, Direct Messages, photos) require a valid search warrant or equivalent from an agency with proper jurisdiction over Twitter.
Yes. Twitter's policy is to notify users of requests for their Twitter or Periscope account information, which includes a copy of the request, as soon as we are able (e.g., prior to or after disclosure of account information) unless we are prohibited from doing so (e.g., an order under 18 U.S.C. § 2705(b)). We ask that any non-disclosure provisions include a specified duration (e.g., 90 days) during which Twitter is prohibited from notifying the user. Exceptions to user notice may include exigent or counterproductive circumstances, such as emergencies regarding imminent threat to life, child sexual exploitation, or terrorism.
Requests for user account information in accordance with applicable law, are required to include the following information:
- Include the Twitter @username and URL of the subject Twitter account in question (e.g., https://twitter.com/twittersafety (@twittersafety) or an account's unique, public user identification number or UID. For instructions on locating a Twitter UID see here;
- And/or include the valid Periscope username and URL (e.g., @twittersafety and https://periscope.tv/twittersafety). Find instructions on locating a Periscope username here;
- Provide details about what specific information is requested (e.g., basic subscriber information) and its relationship to your investigation;
- NOTE: Please ensure that the information you seek is not publicly available (e.g., Tweets that are not protected). We are unable to process overly broad or vague requests.
- Include a valid official email address (e.g., email@example.com) so we may get back in touch with you upon receipt of your legal process;
- Be issued on law enforcement letterhead.
Law enforcement and government requests for user information may be submitted through our Legal Request Submissions site (t.co/lr or http://legalrequests.twitter.com). You can find further instructions below.
Unless otherwise agreed upon, we currently provide responsive records in electronic format (i.e., text files that can be opened with any word processing software such as Word or TextEdit).
The records that we produce are self-authenticating. Additionally, the records are electronically signed to ensure their integrity at the time of production. If you require a declaration, please indicate it in your submission.
Twitter may seek reimbursement for costs associated with information produced pursuant to legal process and as permitted by law (e.g. under 18 U.S.C. §2706).
Twitter evaluates emergency disclosure requests on a case-by-case basis in compliance with relevant law (e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 2702(b)(8) and Section 8 Irish Data Protection 1988 and 2003). If we receive information that provides us with a good faith belief that there is an exigent emergency involving the danger of death or serious physical injury to a person, we may provide information necessary to prevent that harm, if we have it.
If there is an exigent emergency that involves the danger of death or serious physical injury to a person that Twitter may have information necessary to prevent, law enforcement officers can submit an emergency disclosure request through our Legal Request Submissions site (the quickest and most efficient method).
NOTE: Faxed (415-222-9958) requests may result in a delayed response. Please include all of the following information:
- Indication on your cover sheet, which must be on law enforcement letterhead, that you're submitting an Emergency Disclosure Request;
- Identity of the person who is in danger of death or serious physical injury;
- The nature of the emergency (e.g., report of suicide, bomb threat);
- Twitter @username and URL (e.g., https://twitter.com/TwitterSafety (@twittersafety) of the subject account(s) whose information is necessary to prevent the emergency;
- Any specific Tweets you would like us to review;
- The specific information requested and why that information is necessary to prevent the emergency;
- The signature of the submitting law enforcement officer; and
- All other available details or context regarding the particular circumstances.
Twitter’s policy is to promptly respond to requests that are properly issued via mutual legal assistance treaty (“MLAT”) or letters rogatory, upon proper service of process. When submitting requests through an MLAT procedure, please make clear that the request is coming by way of MLAT and include the name of the originating country.
How to request a terms of service review
If you are a law enforcement agent or government official and would like to have potentially illegal content removed from Twitter for violating local law(s), please first review the Twitter Rules and, if applicable, submit a request to have the content reviewed for possible violations of our Terms of Service. An overview on how to report potential violations of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service is available here. Reporting possible violations of our Terms of Service will ensure that your request is routed to the appropriate team and processed expeditiously.
How to submit a legal request to withhold content
If you have already submitted a request to have content reviewed for possible violations of our Terms of Service, and have received a response from Twitter indicating that the reported content does not currently violate our Terms of Service, you can submit a valid and properly scoped legal request for content to be withheld through our Legal Request Submissions site. This is the quickest and most efficient method for submitting a request to withhold content based on local law(s).
Along with identifying the specific Tweet(s) or account(s) at issue, please identify the local law(s) that are deemed to have been violated by the reported content. If you have a court order or other relevant legal documentation, please attach a copy when submitting your request (see “File attachments” section). Please also provide any other potentially helpful context, which will assist in expediting the review of your request. We also require an official government or law enforcement email address (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org) so the appropriate team may get back in touch with you if necessary. We will process your request as soon as possible.
Twitter will promptly notify affected users about legal requests to withhold content, including a copy of the original request, unless we are prohibited from doing so. If you believe Twitter is prohibited from noticing the user, please state the reason in your request, including citation to relevant law (if applicable), and/or upload any documents supporting this prohibition in the "File attachments" section, if available. You may provide a redacted copy of your request with personal information removed for notice purposes.
Government and law enforcement reporters may also request the withholding of content determined to be illegal in their jurisdiction by faxing your request or mailing a hard copy of your request to the contact information listed below. If you are based outside of the United States, please mail your request to Twitter International Company in Ireland (see “Contact Information” section below).
Find more information on our Country Withheld Content policy here.
Registered Twitter users can obtain a download of Tweets posted to his or her Twitter account. Directions on how a user can request that information are available in our Help Center.
Users may also obtain IP logs and other data directly via his or her Twitter account, as explained in our Help Center. If a Twitter user requires additional non-public account information about his or her Twitter account, please direct the user to send a request to Twitter via our privacy form. We will respond with further instructions.
Most issues can be resolved by having Twitter account holders submit inquires directly to us through our Help Center. More information on how to report violations is available here.
Other general inquiries from law enforcement or government officials can be submitted through our web form.
All legal requests, including preservations, requests for account information (routine and emergency), and content removal requests may be submitted via Twitter’s Legal Request Submissions site available at: t.co/lr or legalrequests.twitter.com.
If you experience issues with our Legal Request Submissions site, you may ask for assistance through our web form.
Receipt of correspondence by this means is for convenience only and does not waive any objections, including the lack of jurisdiction or proper service.
Non-law enforcement requests should be submitted through our Help Center.
Our address and fax details are:
c/o Trust & Safety - Legal Policy
1355 Market Street, Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94103
Fax: 1-415-222-9958 (attn: Trust & Safety - Legal Policy)
Twitter International Company
c/o Trust & Safety - Legal Policy
One Cumberland Place
Fax: 1-415-222-9958 (attn: Trust & Safety - Legal Policy)
Receipt of correspondence by any of these means is for convenience only and does not waive any objections, including the lack of jurisdiction or proper service.