German state authorities have recently criticized Facebook for its reluctance to cooperate in criminal investigations, but the social network denies the claims and says it's committed to helping authorities combat terrorism.

Germany has faced a number of attacks recently, and authorities have called on Facebook and other websites to help with investigations by immediately handing over data when requested to do so.

Facebook was said to be reluctant in complying with such requests to help authorities, but the social networking company says it's not the case. According to Facebook, many requests it received to turn over user data were in fact incorrectly formulated, suggesting that this may have hindered the process.

In turn, this may be what prompted German interior ministers to complain that Facebook is not responding to requests for data as promptly as it should. To address this situation, German officials have asked the Federal Justice Ministry to introduce new laws, local news outlet Die Welt reported.

Facebook, for its part, argues that it has provided proper assistance to authorities in Bavaria after the recent attacks in Munich, Würzburg and Ansbach. A spokesperson for the Justice Ministry says there are ongoing efforts to determine whether this situation with Facebook stems from a need to change the law, or whether the implementation is in fact the problem.

The recent uptick in attacks in Germany had increased the need for security agencies to work with technology companies and social networks to discover potential links to militant groups and terrorist organizations that may be planning their next attack.

According to authorities, the bomber who attacked Ansbach had no fewer than six Facebook accounts, one of which was under a false identity. Reuters further cites Bavarian interior minister as saying that traces of online conversations found on the bomber's phone indicated that he was influenced by another person, still unidentified, right up until the attack.

Terrorists have been increasingly relying on social networks to communicate, but that's hardly any news anymore. Social networking companies have been making efforts to crack down on terrorism and online extremism, and there's even a new algorithm designed to sift through social media posts to anticipate the next terror attack.

Facebook, however, has been accused on multiple occasions of not doing enough to combat terrorism. An Israeli minister even called Facebook a "monster" and relatives of terrorist victims sued Facebook for facilitating the attacks. Facebook said it's not a monster, it's not sabotaging police work and it's not abetting terrorism, but it seems to keep drawing criticism over the way it handles things.

Faced with Germany's new accusations, Facebook says it rejected the requests that were poorly formulated, as they were too vague or too broad. The social network says that while it's working with law enforcement officials to help them put their systems to good use, there are still many officers who don't know the proper procedures to make a successful request for user data.

"We have zero tolerance for terrorism on Facebook. We have and will continue to support law enforcement investigations to fight terrorism in Germany," says Facebook.

"This sometimes means proactively providing information to law enforcement officials that will help them respond to emergencies, including potential terrorist threats."

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.