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Legal chief leaves Twitter after 4 years

Twitter's general counsel, Alex Macgillivray, is stepping down as the micro-blogging service's legal chief after four years.

"It has been my privilege to work and fight on behalf of great companies and their users over the last decade. A privilege and a lot of work," Macgillivray wrote in a blog post. "So, I'm looking forward to engaging my various internet passions from new and different perspectives, seeing friends and family without distraction, and just goofing off a bit. We should all do more of that."

Vijaya Gadde will take over for Macgillivray as Twitter's general counsel. "Honored to work with the @twitter legal and @safety teams as we continue to defend our users around the world," Gadde tweeted.

Macgillivray said he will "dial back" his daily involvement with Twitter during a transition period. "I'll continue to support the company and its great people by staying on as an advisor for the legal, trust & safety, corporate development and public policy teams," he wrote. "I continue to care deeply about Twitter, the folks who work at Twitter and our tremendous users, so I'll remain close to all three."

Macgillivray joined Twitter from Google in 2009 at a time when Twitter was really just starting to pick up steam. It was testing verified accounts and had to contend with a few outages, but was largely just getting its sea legs. However, in recent years - as more and more people have turned to the service for political purposes - Twitter has been faced with government requests for data and censorship.

Twitter has pushed back on many US government efforts to secure user data, including that of a Occupy Wall Street protestor. Overseas, that policy has resulted in bans from regimes who do not want their citizens using Twitter to organise protests - from Egypt to Pakistan to Iran.

In January 2012, Twitter announced that, going forward, it would be able to block tweets that ran afoul of certain countries' restrictions on speech. Germany and France, for example, ban pro-Nazi content.

The first use of the policy happened in October 2012 when Twitter blocked access in Germany to the account of a neo-Nazi group known as Besseres Hannover.

"I am proud to have worked with colleagues who defend and respect the user's voice; who push freedom of expression and transparency; and who innovate and lead," Macgillivray said this week.