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Friends no more? Zuckerberg's sister starts rival company

The sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has left the company to set up a social media firm in a move which analysts say could see her working with some of her brother’s biggest competitors.

Randi Zuckerberg has resigned from her job as marketing director of Facebook, saying that she wanted to focus instead on “building a company focused on the exciting trends underway in the media industry”. A Facebook source insited there was “no tension” between the pair.

Ms Zuckerberg, who is two years older than her brother, was an influential force within Facebook. In her resignation letter, she said she had poured her “heart and soul into innovating and pushing the media industry forward by introducing new concepts around live, social, participatory viewing that the media industry has since adopted”.

Darika Ahrens, a social media analyst with Tempero, said that Ms Zuckerberg could remain a great asset to her brother but that her new venture’s success could depend on her working with some of Facebook’s biggest competitors. She said: “With 6 years knowledge of the Facebook platform it will surely benefit Facebook as it would be a platform she’d recommend. But again, with Facebook seen as polarising in the industry, particularly against Google, she’ll need to be outside Facebook to use all the platforms available.

“She’ll also need to remain platform independent to work with the big companies. Time Warner, one of the world’s biggest media organisations, owns AOL for example. She couldn’t do this kind of work shackled to one social platform.”

“From Randi’s resignation letter it seems clear she wants to help ‘traditional’ media organisations innovate with Social technologies and from her track record working with ABC and CNN as well as launching Facebook Live our guess would be in the area of Social TV. She calls this ‘participatory viewing’.”

“Facebook doesn’t seem focussed on the video or live TV space right now so it makes sense she’d want to do this outside the company.”

Ms Zuckerberg has set up a company called RtoZ Media, and said that further details on her new project are to be announced soon. She used her Twitter account to say that she had “mixed emotions” about the move.

A Facebook spokesman said: “We can confirm Randi has decided to leave Facebook to start her own company. We are all grateful for her important service.”