Facebook denies providing government 'direct access' to servers

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc said 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 U.S. National Security Agency and the FBI are "tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. 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 organization 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 scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law."

(Reporting by Gerry Shih; Editing by Gary Hill)