Friday 7 December 2018 4:47 pm

Former GCHQ boss calls for greater regulation of Facebook

Former GCHQ boss Robert Hannigan has attacked Facebook, claiming it is undermining democracy and demanding that the social media giant face greater regulation.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Hannigan stated that Facebook “isn't a kind of fluffy charity providing free services". 

"It's is a very hard-headed international business and these big tech companies are essentially the world's biggest global advertisers, that's where they make their billions,” he said.

He added that in return for access to its service, Facebook would collect people's data and “squeeze every drop of profit out of it".

When questioned about Facebook being a threat to democracy, he said: "Potentially yes. I think it is if it isn't controlled and regulated.

"But these big companies, particularly where there are monopolies, can't frankly reform themselves. It will have to come from outside."

Hannigan, head of GCHQ from 2014 to 2017, has previously criticised Facebook for its failure to adequately prevent fake news interfering in democratic politics.

His criticism adds to the pressure faced globally by Facebook to be more transparent in how it uses customers’ data.

Facebook declined to comment.