Every company that stores information – from banks to phone companies to email providers – should have policies and guidelines for responding to requests for user information from law enforcement agencies, courts, etc. These are ours.
Most of this information is intended for law enforcement, judicial and regulatory personnel. If you are none of these and have questions, you can find answers in our Help Centre.
Stored user information
Requirements to produce user information
For US law enforcement agencies
To compel Pinterest to provide a user’s information, you must obtain a valid subpoena, court order or search warrant (“law enforcement request”). To compel Pinterest to provide a user’s content, you must obtain a valid search warrant.
For non-US law enforcement agencies
You can’t compel Pinterest to provide any user information unless you obtain a valid US court order (via the mutual legal assistance treaties or letter rogatory).
Requirements to share user information with law enforcement agencies
To respond to your request(s), we’ll need:
- The applicable documents described above
- The unique username (pinterest.com/[username]) and/or email address used to create their Pinterest account
- A valid return email address from an official government domain
In order to ensure that your law enforcement request is narrow and does not seek more information than necessary (potentially at additional cost and time), we ask for the following:
- A sufficiently narrow/defined time period
- A specific event or action that the subject took
- A specific reference (for example, user URL = https://www.pinterest.com/pinterestpolicy/)
Requirements to request preservation and/or production of user information
Pinterest must be notified in accordance with applicable US law or valid legal process via our Law Enforcement Request Form. The form accepts electronic process only.
We’ll only respond to requests from law enforcement agencies. If you aren’t part of a law enforcement agency and have an issue, please browse our help articles.
Acceptance of legal process doesn’t waive any objections that Pinterest may have, including jurisdiction or proper service.
User notifications of requests
Our policy is to notify users of law enforcement requests by providing them with a complete copy of the request before producing their information to law enforcement agencies. We may make exceptions to this policy if:
- we are legally prohibited from providing notice (e.g. by an order under 18 U.S.C. § 2705(b))
- an emergency situation exists involving a danger of death or serious physical harm to a person or place
- we have reason to believe that notice wouldn't go to the actual account holder (e.g. an account has been hijacked or an email address is invalid)
If we receive a National Security Letter (NSL) from the US government that includes an indefinite non-disclosure order, our policy is to ask the government to seek judicial review of the order pursuant to the USA FREEDOM Act.
In cases where notice isn’t provided because of a court order or emergency situation, our policy is to provide notice to the user once the court order or emergency situation has expired.
Note: Officer-authored affidavits, descriptions, cover letters or similar statements are not sufficient to preclude notice to our users. You must provide a court order issued in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 2705(b) or cite an applicable statute if you wish to prohibit user notice of your law enforcement request.
Cost of preservation and/or production requests
If we seek reimbursement for the actual costs of preserving and/or producing information, Pinterest will provide a good faith estimate of such costs as part of our production or upon a law enforcement agency’s request prior to our processing. Costs are based on the amount of data, time and resources required to process and query the raw data that Pinterest maintains.
Certificate of authentication or expert testimony
Pinterest provides a certification from its records custodian with each production but is not generally able to provide an in-person testimony or act as an expert witness.
If you are a user and aware of imminent harm to an individual or individuals, please contact local law enforcement authorities immediately.
In a situation where there is an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury, law enforcement agencies can submit a request for disclosure of user information to Pinterest by submitting a request through our Law Enforcement Request Form (click “Yes” to the emergency request option and fill in the requested information) or by contacting us using our emergency law enforcement email address: lawenforcement [at] pinterest.com.
We'll only respond to emails from law enforcement agencies. If you aren't part of a law enforcement agency and you have an issue, please browse our help articles. Emailing this alias is considered abuse and may result in action being taken on your Pinterest account.
Pinterest will review and respond to these requests on a case-by-case basis.
Public position on bulk government surveillance requests
Consistent with these law enforcement guidelines, Pinterest requires that all requests for user information are limited to specific and known users for lawful purposes. Pinterest has not participated and does not participate in the collection of bulk user information at the US government’s request. Pinterest opposes compelled back doors and supports reforms to limit bulk surveillance requests.
Users on Pinterest have a display name (at the top of their profile) and a unique username (in their profile's URL). To find an account, we need the username or the email address on the account. The email address is private and generally only attainable from the Pinner themselves, or in NCMEC CyberTips.
To find a username:
- On the Pinterest website, go to a user’s profile and find the username in the address bar following “https://pinterest.com/”
- In the iOS app, go to a user’s profile and tap the flag in the top left corner of the screen. The username will appear in parentheses near the bottom of the screen.
- In the Android app, go to a user’s profile and tap the flag in the top left corner of the screen. The username will appear in parentheses near the bottom of the screen.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is an online tool for discovering, collecting and organising interests. You can save links to media content (e.g. images or video) from across the Internet, or upload your own images to Pinterest (although you can't upload audio or video directly to Pinterest at the moment). You can also browse Pinterest to find content that other users have saved.
You save Pins to boards. You can invite other people to save Pins to a board with you. You can follow other users’ boards and save or comment on other users’ Pins.
You can browse the Pins of other users or boards in your home feed.
You can discover new Pins, boards and users by browsing our topic feeds or searching for specific content or users.
A Pin is comprised of media content (an image, audio or video), a short description and a link. There are a few ways to save Pins: (1) pinterest.com, (2) the Pinterest browser button, (3) the Pinterest mobile application for iOS or Android and (4) a Save button that third-party content owners choose to add to their websites.
When saving a Pin, you can customise the Pin's description and choose the board to save it to.
In some cases, the website or content owner prepopulates the Pin's description with information about the content (like "lazy_cat.jpg" or “Confessional Cheesecake Recipe | via mbarton.org”).
After saving, users can edit or change the description. You can also move Pins between boards or save the same Pin to multiple boards.
A board is a collection of Pins usually organised around a theme or idea. You can invite other Pinterest users to save Pins to your boards.
Boards can be public or secret. Only you and anyone you invite to a secret board can see the Pins you've saved to that secret board.
You can save other users’ Pins on Pinterest to your own boards. In some cases, the user you’re saving from may not be the original user who saved it (e.g. user X repinned it from user Y who repinned it from user Z, the original content poster).
If you delete a Pin, it doesn't delete other saves of that Pin from other people's boards.
Anyone can comment on Pins they can see. You can delete your own comments but not comments from other users. Comments are public if the board is public.
Note: What looks like the first comment in a Pin is actually the Pin description.
You can send private messages to other users on Pinterest. Messages can be between one or multiple users. If the users are not following each other, the message will appear as a 'contact request' until the receiver approves it.
Pinterest has its own search bar that works as a search engine.
When looking for ideas on Pinterest, you can input a single word or combination of words in the search bar. This will provide results that include Pins, Boards, and Accounts. All search terms that a user inputs can be recovered and presented as a list to law enforcement.
All Pinterest profiles are public and include certain self-provided information as well as boards, Pins, tries, followers and the people they're following. The info available on a profile includes:
- Name (required)
- Username (required)
- Location (not required)
- Profile description with a 500-character limit (not required)
- Website (not required)
- Profile picture (not required)
- Facebook or Twitter, if login is linked to these accounts (not required)
We don't require you to provide your real name, nor do we verify your name, age or location.