Channel 4 announces new reality show with a twist

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Channel 4, the former home of Big Brother, has announced a new reality show with a twist - contestants will only communicate with each other online.

The broadcaster said The Circle will ask "provocative questions" about how people interact and forge their own identity in the age of social media.

Contestants, competing in a popularity contest to win up to £50,000, will be housed in one modern block of flats.

But they will live in separate apartments, only interacting with each other through social media.

A "bespoke", voice-activated social media platform, called The Circle, will "enable them to chat, make friends, argue and maybe even fall in love".

"Throughout the contest the competitors will rate each other, with whoever is liked the least running the risk of being 'blocked' and removed from The Circle," Channel 4 said.

"It is only when someone is 'blocked' that the others will learn about who they have really been interacting with."

Executive producer Tim Harcourt said: "It used to just be film stars, rock stars and narcissists who would do anything for the adulation of thousands of strangers.

"Now we've all caught the bug. So many of us do bizarre things or become very different versions of ourselves just to be 'liked' online.

"And whilst sometimes social media seems ridiculous and shallow, at other times it becomes a force for positive change. This series promises to explore all of this in a fashion that is dramatic, funny, warm and compelling."