Facebook denies providing US government 'direct access' to servers

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - Facebook Inc said on Thursday it does not provide any government agency with "direct access" to its servers, denying a central element of a Washington Post report.

The Post reported on Thursday that the United States National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are "tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading US Internet companies" through a highly classified program known as Prism, extracting audio, video, photographs, emails, documents and connection logs.

"We do not provide any government organisation with direct access to Facebook servers," Facebook chief security officer Joe Sullivan said in a statement. "When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinise any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law."