Facebook's General Counsel Colin Stretch, who led the company's investigation into Russian election interference, is leaving at the end of the year (Marc Vartabedian/Wall Street Journal)

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Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch testifies on Russia and social media influence during the 2016 election at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 1, 2017.


Yin Bogu/Zuma Press


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top lawyer, who led the company’s investigation into Russian election interference, is leaving the company at the end of the year.

Colin Stretch, who has worked at the company since 2010, announced his departure in a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon. He leaves while Facebook is the subject of multiple probes by federal agencies regarding the company’s mishandling of private user data.

Mr. Stretch said he had moved to Washington, D.C., several years ago and was thus several time zones removed from Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

“As Facebook embraces the broader responsibility [CEO

Mark Zuckerberg

] has discussed in recent months, I’ve concluded that the company and the Legal team need sustained leadership in Menlo Park,” he wrote.

Facebook’s leadership has been remarkably stable despite recent turmoil at the social-media giant, but Mr. Stretch’s exit marks the second high-level departure in recent weeks.

Elliot Schrage,

the firm’s top policy and communications executive, said last month that he was stepping down.

On Mr. Stretch’s Facebook page, Chief Operating Officer

Sheryl Sandberg

wrote, “You’ve always worked to make us a better company—including your efforts to increase diversity on your team and in the industry. We will all miss you and your dedicated and thoughtful counsel.”

Facebook plans to conduct an internal and external search for a replacement, said a person familiar with the matter.

Facebook reports earnings after the close of the market on Wednesday.

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