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New BBC iPlayer ties up with social networks

THE BBC yesterday launched a new version of its popular iPlayer web video service with prominent links to rivals’ sites, as it waits to see if the new coalition government will limit its funding or powers.

The new version of the iPlayer, one of Britain’s top websites, will allow viewers to personalise home pages and share tips and synchronise viewing with friends via Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft’s MSN instant messenger chat service.

The BBC has faced increasing criticism during the recession from rivals led by pay-TV broadcaster BSkyB and online news providers who say the corporation’s public funding of £3.6bn a year distorts the British media market.

Earlier this year the corporation signalled a retreat from some commercial operations to focus on core services, after BSkyB called its digital scope and plans “chilling”, but rejected calls for it to share the iPlayer platform with rivals.