Information for Law Enforcement
These operational guidelines are for law enforcement officials seeking records from Instagram LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Facebook, Inc. This information may change at any time.
Requests for User Information
We disclose account records solely in accordance with our terms of service and applicable law, including the federal Stored Communications Act (“SCA”), 18 U.S.C. Sections 2701-2712. Under the SCA:
- a valid subpoena issued in connection with an official criminal investigation is required to compel the disclosure of basic subscriber records (defined in 18 U.S.C. Section 2703(c)(2)), which may include: subscriber name, account creation date, email address, and a signup IP address, if available.
- a court order issued under 18 U.S.C. Section 2703(d) is required to compel the disclosure of certain records or other information pertaining to the account, not including contents of communications, which may include photographs, photo captions, and other electronic communication information in addition to the basic subscriber records identified above.
- a search warrant issued under the procedures described in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or equivalent State warrant procedures upon a showing of probable cause is required to compel the disclosure of the stored contents of any account, which may include messages, photos, comments, and location information.
It is important to note that some information we store is collected automatically, while other information is provided by the user. We do not require email or phone verification, and we do not require people to use real names or identities on Instagram.
Data Retention and Availability
We retain different types of information for different time periods. Given the volume of real-time content on Instagram, some information may only be stored for a short period of time. We do not retain data for law enforcement purposes unless we receive a valid preservation request.
Information to Include
All requests must identify the following:
- The name of the issuing authority, badge/ID number of responsible agent, email address from a law enforcement domain, and a direct contact phone number.
- The username of the Instagram account in question on the date you viewed the account and details regarding specific information requested and its relationship to your investigation. Usernames are not static and we are unable to process requests that do not include the date viewed combined with the username. If you have access to an image's short URL, you can go to the link and find the username at the top right next to the image. If you have access to the Instagram app, you can locate the username at the top of the account’s profile.
In responding to a matter involving imminent harm to a child or risk of death or serious physical injury to any person and requiring disclosure of information without delay, a law enforcement official may submit a request through the Law Enforcement Online Request System at facebook.com/records.
Important note: We will not review or respond to messages sent to this email address by non-law enforcement officials. Users aware of an emergency situation should immediately and directly contact local law enforcement officials.
International Legal Process Requirements
We disclose account records solely in accordance with applicable terms of service and applicable law. A Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request or letter rogatory may be required to compel the disclosure of the contents of an account. Further information can be found here: help.instagram.com/155833707900388/.
We will take steps to preserve account records in connection with official criminal investigations for 90 days pending our receipt of formal legal process. You may expeditiously submit formal preservation requests through the Law Enforcement Online Request System at facebook.com/records, or by email, or mail as indicated below.
If law enforcement seeks information about a an Instagram user who has provided consent for the official to access or obtain the user’s account information, the user should be directed to obtain that information on their own from their account.
We are unable to provide expert testimony. Any records produced are self-authenticating and do not require the testimony of records custodians. If a special form of certification is required, please attach it to your records request.
We may seek reimbursement for costs in responding to requests for information as provided by law. Unusual or burdensome requests may result in added costs that we may recover. We may waive fees in matters pertaining to potential harm to children, us or our users, and emergency requests.
Submission of Requests
Law enforcement officials are encouraged to use the Law Enforcement Online Request System at facebook.com/records for the submission, tracking and processing of requests. Please note that a government-issued email address is required to access the Law Enforcement Online Request System.
Attn: Law Enforcement Response Team
1601 Willow Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Law enforcement officials who do not submit requests through the Law Enforcement Online Request System at facebook.com/records should expect longer response times.
- Acceptance of legal process by any of these means is for convenience and does not waive any objections, including lack of jurisdiction or improper service.
- We will not review or respond to correspondence sent by non-law enforcement officials to the addresses above.