Facebook could become a threat to democracy if tougher regulations are not introduced, according to the former head of intelligence agency GCHQ.

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Robert Hannigan has hit out at he tech giant in an interview with the BBC, accusing Facebook of being more concerned with making money than "protecting your privacy".

He told Radio 4's 'Today' show: "This 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.

"So in return for the service that you find useful they take your data ... and squeeze every drop of profit out of it."

Hannigan also suggested that Facebook represents a threat to democracy.

He explained: "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."

His comments come after British MPs recently accused the social networking firm of making secret deals over user data, while Facebook has also come under fire for its handling of fake news.