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Twitter Expands Presence in Washington, Hires Former FCC Aide Colin Crowell

Colin Crowell
Cecilia Kang/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Experts say the tech firm may want to educate political contacts on company policies and initiatives on such key issues as privacy and data breaches, which Google and Facebook have regularly faced.

NEW YORK – Twitter has hired former top FCC and Capitol Hill aide Colin Crowell as the micro blogging firm continues to expand its presence in Washington, D.C., Politico reported.

The telecom policy veteran is the company’s second D.C. hire. Last year, it brought in former C-SPAN executive producer of digital services Adam Sharp.

The San Francisco-based company has gradually increased its presence in the nation’s capital over the last year and has sent top executives to meet politicians, such as when CEO Dick Costolo visited with lawmakers in May, Politico said.

It said that Twitter has so far managed to avoid high-profile policy debates and calls for regulatory action, but experts said that it may be wise to educate Washington on company policies and initiatives on such key issues as privacy and data breaches, which have regularly come up with such other tech players as Google and Facebook, before a potential crisis.

Last year, the tech company agreed to launch security measures to settle FTC charges that it failed to protect users’ personal information, according to Politico. And reports earlier this year said that the FTC was reviewing Twitter’s relationships with third-party app makers.

Twitter has “probably seen what’s happened with Google and others and said we need to get ahead of the curve and be prepared to address these issues,” said Gary Fazzino, vp of government affairs at Applied Materials.

Observers say that Twitter could even set up a formal D.C. operation. “They’re compiling a small team that knows Washington well,” Politico cited Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, as saying. “The next step for them is to build a bigger shop here and build alliances.”

Added Fazzino: “You can be brilliant, rich and have the best technology, but you can’t go it alone in D.C. It’s very important to have influential allies.”