How We Work with Law Enforcement Authorities

January 24, 2023

At Snap, our goal is to maintain a safe and fun environment where Snapchatters are free to express themselves and stay in touch with their real friends. Over the years, we’ve worked to build upon the productive relationship we share with law enforcement authorities around the world – who are vital partners in our efforts to combat illegal or harmful activity on our platform. In this post, we want to share some helpful information about how we work together with law enforcement officials and authorities to help keep our community safe.

Our dedicated Law Enforcement Operations (LEO) team is focused on responding to preservation requests, valid legal process and inquiries from law enforcement. The team operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has team members based around the globe. A team member handles every request from law enforcement so every time law enforcement corresponds with us, they are reaching a person, not a computer. While content on Snapchat generally deletes by default, law enforcement agencies may preserve available account data by sending us a preservation request and may obtain data by serving us with appropriate legal process, in accordance with applicable laws and privacy requirements.

We also work to proactively escalate to law enforcement any content appearing to involve imminent threats to life, such as school shooting threats, bomb threats and missing persons cases, and respond to law enforcement’s emergency requests for disclosure of data when law enforcement is handling a case involving an imminent threat to life. In the case of emergency disclosure requests from law enforcement, our 24/7 team usually responds within 30 minutes.

Since Snapchat is built differently than traditional social media platforms, we know how important it is to educate law enforcement on how our platform works and how we can serve as a resource for them. That’s why we recently held our second annual Law Enforcement Summit where we demonstrated how Snapchat works, educated U.S. law enforcement about how to properly request data from us and the best ways to work with us, and answered their questions.

More than 3,000 U.S. law enforcement officers attended the summit and learned important information about what data Snapchat has, the process to request information or report issues, and how we work together as part of our continued work to address new and ongoing safety issues impacting our community. To help measure the effectiveness of this event and identify any areas for opportunity, we surveyed the participants and found that:

  • 88% of attendees said they now have a better understanding of Snapchat’s work with law enforcement

  • 85% said they left the summit with a better understanding of the process to request legal information from Snapchat

Our relationship with law enforcement is essential to helping keep Snapchatters safe, and we are grateful for those who attended this event. We look forward to continuing this important dialogue and remain committed to working with law enforcement stakeholders across the globe as we plan to expand our outreach to law enforcement outside the United States.

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