These operational guidelines are a reference for law enforcement officials seeking information from us about user activity on TikTok. TikTok Pte. Ltd (“TikTok”) 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 court order, warrant or search order.
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:
- 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 court order, warrant or search order. This information may also be obtained pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (“MLAT”) request or letter rogatory.
- 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 search order.
- 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 search order.
- Log Data
TikTok retains logs which may include meta-data 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 communication.
This information is available pursuant to a court order, warrant or search order.
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.
What information regarding the requesting party must I include?
If a law enforcement agency requires TikTok to provide them with personal data of a user without the user’s consent, written authorization signed by the head or director of that law enforcement agency or a person of similar rank certifying that the personal data is necessary for the purpose of the functions or duties of the officer must be provided to TikTok before such data is provided.
Will TikTok honor preservation requests?
TikTok will honor formal requests from law enforcement to preserve user data. Upon receiving a signed and dated preservation request on the official letterhead of a law enforcement department containing all the requisite information as set out below, TikTok will attempt to preserve available account information associated with any properly identified TikTok user for up to 90 days. We may not honour 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 ends.
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 email@example.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 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. In certain situations, we are able to voluntarily disclose personal data about an individual without the consent of the individual where such disclosure is necessary to respond to an emergency that threatens the life, health or safety of the individual or another individual.
All emergency requests must be in writing on official letterhead, signed by a sworn law enforcement official, and come from an official law enforcement email domain.
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 MLAT request or letter rogatory process to seek user information from TikTok. TikTok 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?
It is our policy to notify TikTok users when we receive legal process seeking their records, information or content unless providing such notice is prohibited under law.
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.