SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court has ruled that Facebook and other social media companies could be required to turn over user content that is public to criminal defendants.

Attorneys for the social media companies had argued that federal privacy law prevents the release of any user content and that the defendants had other ways to get the material.

At issue were requests by a defendant charged with murder in San Francisco who wanted videos and other content posted to Facebook and Instagram by the victim and a witness.

The defendant also sought information from Twitter.

The court on Thursday kicked the specific case back to the trial court to decide whether information requested by the defendants was open to the public — and, therefore, information that companies could be required to provide.

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