Twitter Ramps Up Its DC Presence, Hires New Public Policy Head

A sign of Twitter’s growing power, and increasing need to interface with government to get its message across: the company has hired a new head of public policy, Colin Crowell.

The news, aptly enough, was announced via a tweet from Alexander Macgillivray, the company’s global counsel: “Very happy to welcome longtime user advocate @colin_crowell as @Twitter’s Head of Global Public Policy.”

Later, Crowell himself later noted that he would be starting in mid-September.

Crowell is a long-time DC player in telecoms and technology regulation. Crowell served as a senior aide to Congressman Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, where he worked for more than 20 years on telecom and technology issues. That covered the time when Markey was chairman of the House Telecommunications Subcommitte and was ushering through such big pieces of legislation as the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

In 2009, he became an adviser to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski focusing on broadband policy. More recently he has been running his own consultancy, Crowell Strategies, working with clients like Sprint (NYSE: S) and Google.

With his remit covering global public policy, it will be interesting to see how and if Crowell also gets involved in some of the recent issues that have been hitting Twiter outside of the U.S., too.

Those have touched on some of the issues that affect Twitter in the U.S. — such as privacy and cybersecurity.

In the last month, officials have been meeting with executives from Facebook, Twitter and RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger group to discuss the social networks’ role in the riots earlier this month across England: critics said that they were used to help organize attacks. One big point of debate has been around whether the police has a right to shut down these kinds of social networks in times of crisis to better control situations.

Twitter was also in the legal spotlight in the UK earlier this year around the topic of superinjunctions, and whether those who post tweets that are in violation of them can get prosecuted, and identified if they are posting under names that cannot be easily tracked.

This is the second major hire Twitter has made in DC in the last 12 months. Last November it hired Adam Sharp to serve as a government liaison.