Berlin – Facebook on Monday dismissed complaints by German officials that it had not been helpful in fighting terrorism and urged authorities to better formulate their requests.
Following a rash of attacks in southern Germany in late July, several state officials called for websites such as Facebook to be legally required to immediately hand over user data if information relevant to an attack is posted.
They complained that the US-based social network had only supplied answers to about 37 percent of requests by German security authorities over the last three years, Welt am Sonntag newspaper said on Sunday.
Facebook said in a statement that it was committed to working with officials.
“We have zero tolerance for terrorism on Facebook. We have and will continue to support law enforcement investigations to fight terrorism in Germany,” it said.
“This sometimes means proactively providing information to law enforcement officials that will help them respond to emergencies, including potential terrorist threats.”
But it also said many of the official applications to Facebook failed to comply with German law and it was working with police to train them on how to submit the requests .
In July, the German state of Bavaria suffered two attacks carried out by asylum seekers and claimed by the Islamic State group — an axe rampage on a train in Wuerzburg and a suicide bombing in Ansbach.
And in the Bavarian capital Munich, a teenager with a history of mental illness shot nine people dead at a shopping mall before turning the gun on himself.
All three attackers were active on Facebook, and the Munich assailant created a fake account to lure victims to a McDonald’s restaurant with promises of discounts.
The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence force, Hans-Georg Maassen, said it was crucial for law enforcement to boost its ties with sites such as Facebook.
“Social networks are an important means of communication for jihadists,” he told the daily Rheinische Post.