Senior Twitter Lawyer Resigns, the Latest in a Series of Executive Departures

The lawyer was closely involved in the company's talks with the Federal Trade Commission over promises it had made on privacy.

Senior Twitter Lawyer Resigns, the Latest in a Series of Executive Departures


The lawyer was closely involved in discussions between the company and the Federal Trade Commission about privacy promises made by the company.

By Kate Conger

Four people with knowledge of the matter confirmed that a senior lawyer from Twitter resigned on Thursday. This is the latest executive to leave Twitter since Elon Musk assumed control nearly six months ago.

Christian Dowell rose to the top position in Twitter's Legal Department after Mr. Musk fired or resigned the legal directors of the company. Two people familiar with these discussions say that Mr. Dowell was intimately involved with Twitter's recent talks with the Federal Trade Commission.

The F.T.C. is investigating a former executive who claims Twitter had security issues. The F.T.C. accelerated its investigation after three Twitter executives who were responsible for privacy and security, as well as compliance, abruptly resigned. They left Twitter in November, just a few months after Mr. Musk purchased the company.

In recent months, the agency has intensified its investigation of Twitter. It is examining whether the company can afford to keep up with its privacy promises following mass layoffs.

In recent months, Mr. Musk tried to meet with a few of the F.T.C. Two people who are familiar with Mr. Musk's efforts say that he has been trying to meet with some of the F.T.C. Christine Wilson, a departing Republican Commissioner, was the only one to accept his request. Mr. Dowell coordinated Twitter’s responses to the F.T.C. These people claimed that Mr. Dowell participated in the planning of the meeting and coordinated Twitter's responses to F.T.C.

Ms. Wilson left her post last Friday. In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Wilson said that Lina Khan was the F.T.C. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece about her decision to resign, she said that Lina Khan, the F.T.C. officials enable her.'

Mr. Dowell, who joined Twitter in 2020, after stints on the question-and answer site Quora, and Facebook, focused on product-related issues, before being promoted in December to become the head of legal overseeing Twitter’s product.

Mr. Dowell’s departure comes after a series of legal and compliance executives have left the social media company. On the same day Mr. Musk signed the deal to acquire Twitter, in late October, Vijaya Gadde was fired as the company's general counsel and Sean Edgett, its chief legal officer.

In December, Mr. Musk terminated James A. Baker as a Twitter attorney and former general counsel of the F.B.I. after Baker had played a part in reviewing internal communications regarding the company's decisions to suppress a 2020 New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Musk has also stopped his lawyer from working for Twitter, and instead rotated other legal staff from SpaceX. This rocket company is owned by him.

F.T.C. investigation is not the only lawsuit Twitter faces. Twitter faces a number of lawsuits for unpaid rent, vendor fees, and software bills. Former employees also sued the company claiming it violated labor law during layoffs.

Twitter has also taken legal action against a person unknown who posted portions of Twitter's source code on the internet. Last month, Twitter obtained a subpoena requiring GitHub, a software development platform which hosted the code to reveal information about this person.

A German federal agency began proceedings this week to fine Twitter over what they said was its failure to respond to complaints about illegal content. Musk tweeted about the German legal proceedings on Tuesday, saying that it was the first time he had heard of them.

Musk announced Mr. Dowell was resigning as he built a 'powerful legal team' for Tesla, his electric vehicle manufacturer. He tweeted on Tuesday that the team would 'go after the Wall St short sellers, certain law firms, and corrupt regulators'