Facebook has refused to remove a tribute page entitled “RIP Raoul Moat You Legend", despite mounting pressure from critics including UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
The page has so far gained 38,000 fans and contains messages expressing sympathy for gunman Raoul Moat, as well as a number of anti-police comments.
Moat, a resident of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, had been on the run since shooting his ex-girlfriend, killing her lover and seriously injuring a policeman.
The killer was later cornered and took his own life after a six-hour stand-off with police.
Cameron condemned the online tribute , saying: "As far as I can see, it is absolutely clear that Raoul Moat was a callous murderer - full stop, end of story - and I cannot understand any wave, however small, of public sympathy for this man. There should be sympathy for his victims, and for the havoc he wreaked in that community; there should be no sympathy for him"
Cameron's spokesman, Steve Field, has confirmed that the government has expressed its concerns to Facebook, but stopped short of demanding that page be removed.
Facebook maintains that the social networking platform is a place of discussion and a conduit for public opinion. The company said that it is not responsible for views expressed on the site, or for the policing of these views or their censorship.
In a statement, the company said: “We have 26 million people on Facebook in the UK, each of which has their own opinion, and they are entitled to express their views on Facebook as long as their comments do not violate our terms. We believe that enabling people to have these different opinions and debate about a topic can help bring together lots of different views for a healthy discussion.”