I AM surprised by the letter from Nigel Boddy, a councillor of all people, who should be aware of the present situation. “Fake news” (HAS, Nov 5).

I thought everyone knew that Facebook and other groups are involved in the harvesting of information.

They collect and use every possible scrap of information on who you are, what web sites you visit, what you buy etc but also who your friends are and the friends of your friends, and their activities, and sell the information to interested parties.

This information was at the centre of the Cambridge Analytical scandal and was used to target selected voters.

Those judged to be wondering about voting leave were sent adverts encouraging them to do so, “70 million Turks could enter the UK soon” was one of their untrue adverts.

Those thinking of voting Remain were sent adverts suggesting that they do not bother to vote, because their Remain vote was not needed in the constituency in question.

The tight regulation of Facebook and other social media organisations is long overdue but they are probably beyond regulation now, though they are a powerful threat to democracy

Eric Gendle, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough.