Subpoena Facebook Information

One of our commenters on Leora’s Facebook sleuthing post asked how to go about getting information from Facebook pursuant to a subpoena for a court case. I followed up with Facebook, and got the contact information to (1) preserve information, and (2) get ahold of it. Here is the address and fax where you should send your subpoena or court order:

Facebook
Attn: Security Department
1601 South California Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94304

fax: 650.644.3229

For civil matters, Facebook requires a subpoena from California or New York. Here is the full e-mail from Facebook:

Facebook is no longer accepting New York subpoenas, according to Cozen O’Connor paralegal Michele Fiedler. The email she received from Facebook is below the one I received.

Thank you for contacting Facebook.

If you are requesting that information on our site be preserved, please send a preservation order by mail or fax to the following address:

Facebook
1601 S California Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Attn: Security Department
Fax Number (650) 644-3229

Please provide as much of the following information as possible to expedite your request:

- Your full contact information (name, physical address, phone and email):
- Response date due (please allow 2-4 weeks for processing):
- Full name of user(s):
- Full URL to Facebook profile:
- School/networks:
- Birth date:
- Known email addresses:
- IM account ID:
- Phone numbers:
- Address:
- Period of activity (specific dates will most likely expedite your request):

Please be sure that your contact information is valid, so that we can contact you with updates on your request status.

Although providing this information will enable us to identify the account in question so that we can preserve available information, we will also need a valid subpoena or other court order in order to provide this information to you. This subpoena or court order should be mailed or faxed to the above address.

Governmental Agency

Please note that if the requesting party is a governmental agency, a search warrant is required for private inbox and/or outbox communication 180 days old or less. See 18 U.S.C. § 2703(a).

Civil Matters

For information being requested in a civil matter, a valid California or New York subpoena is required.

Per our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy we may release information in an expedited manner for cases involving imminent bodily harm. Please contact us immediately via email at [subpoena /at/ facebook /dot/ com] with the subject “IMMINENT HARM” to request data under this clause. Determination of the amount of information which may be released under this clause is at Facebook’s sole discretion.

If you have additional questions, you can contact us at [subpoena /at/ facebook /dot/ com].

Here is the updated information from Michele Fiedler:

Ms. Fiedler,

With regard to civil matters, state court subpoenas must issue from a court within California or must be issued pursuant to the proper California court commission. Federal civil subpoenas seeking the production of documents must issue from the court in the district where the production is to be made. Please send the subpoena to subpoena@facebook.com or fax to 650-644-3229.

In addition, Facebook requires a $150 processing fee per User ID. Checks can be made payable to Facebook, Inc. and can be sent to the attention of Facebook Security at 1601 S. California Ave., Palo Alto, CA, 94304, bearing the name and number of the case for which the fees are paid.

Please note that our users’ data is protected by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”). See 18 USC section 2701 et. seq. ECPA is a federal statute that prohibits Facebook from producing any “content” without notarized user consent or a Search Warrant.

Thank you,

- Facebook, Inc. Security

You can also subpoena MySpace information.

Lawyering Skills

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  • Elizabeth Cawood

    Thank you! This information is very helpful.

  • Elizabeth Cawood

    Not to be a pest, but do you have similar info for MySpace?

    Sure thing. Here is how to subpoena MySpace information.

  • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

    I don’t, but I will try to get it.

  • Erica

    I also left a message on the Myspace info page, but how do I domesticate a New Mexico state court subpoena in CA? Do I need to associate with a CA attorney? Must it be in the district where Facebook or Myspace are located?

  • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

    @Erica: I think you will have to ask a California lawyer that question, or else see if Facebook will answer your question.

  • John Sargeant

    What about is my facebook page was hacked and I want to subpoena information from facebook? Can I do this? How?

  • http://lawyerist.com Sam Glover

    John, if the information above does not answer your question, you should contact a lawyer.

  • tsmith

    Does anyone know about obtaining info on Skpe and BB messenger ?

  • http://hack-igations.blogspot.com/2008/06/voicemail-other-audio-legal-records.html Benjamin Wright

    When thinking about sending a subpoena to Facebook, bear in mind that much of the information you desire may also exist in the email records that the FB user maintains separate from FB itself. http://legal-beagle.typepad.com/wrights_legal_beagle/2010/01/subpoena-facebook.html –Ben

  • Laura

    Do you have the email address at Facebook where we can send questions?

    Also, any information on subpoenas for out-of-state (i.e., California) criminal cases?

  • http://lawyerist.com Sam Glover

    Laura, the post (and the linked post with updated information) has the information you are looking for.

  • John the Baptist

    I need to subpoena chat logs and wall posts from two or three Facbook accounts. According to the Facebook site they charge a daylight-robbery price of $500 just to confirm account information then hide behind Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2701. How do I get around that? I suppose I need a Federal subpoena? How the heck do I get one for a civil case in a state court?

  • Kathy Klinger

    I am trying to get information on calling facebook admin before going further with my complaints… is there any way to find out how to actually call them?

  • Haley Klein

    I am helping out a friend who was the victim of extortion on a private message on facebook. He suspects the other party deleted, not deactivated their account. If you delete a facebook account, how long after deletion does it stay in the system for subpeona?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      According to the privacy policy:

      When you delete an account, it is permanently deleted from Facebook. It typically takes about one month to delete an account, but some information may remain in backup copies and logs for up to 90 days. You should only delete your account if you are sure you never want to reactivate it.

      • Haley klein

        Thanks so much for your response. So after the 90 days, what info on the account, if any, is available to law enforcement? IP address and user name?

        • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

          I think you would need to ask Facebook.

  • ECDMR

    How would you get a subpoena from Arizona for defamation by libel?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Call a lawyer in Arizona?

  • PjD

    wondering if posts are retrievable, from an account who has defriended me. I am looking for old posts, that were/are very negative and derogatory towards others.. for a civil case. She has defriended me, and deleted her nasty comments, does FB store those.. somehow?

  • http://www.castforever.com.au Holly Whittenbury

    How can I get a subpoena from Australia for Facebook??