Nathalie Maréchal

Nathalie Maréchal was the Senior Policy and Partnerships Manager at Ranking Digital Rights. She led the development of RDR’s policy positions, coordinated stakeholder engagement and partnerships, and publicly represented RDR with the media and at conferences around the world.

Nathalie first joined the project in 2013 as a summer fellow during her PhD program at the University of Southern California. Over the next few years, she led methodology development concerning mobile ecosystems, helped develop the Digital Standard in partnership with Consumer Reports, and led a small team working to apply RDR’s privacy and human rights evaluative framework to develop indicators for evaluating national digital ID systems. After completing her PhD in 2018, Nathalie returned to RDR as full-time staff to lead the expansion of the RDR Corporate Accountability Index’s methodology to address human rights risks associated with tech companies’ business models, specifically the role that targeted advertising and algorithmic systems play in shaping internet users’ online experiences. In 2020, Nathalie was the lead author for the “It’s the Business Model” report series, which builds on her 2018 Motherboard op-ed, “Targeted Advertising is Ruining the Internet and Breaking the World,” to argue that disinformation, hate speech, and other “information harms” linked to social media platforms are rooted in the surveillance capitalism business model. The report series calls on governments to focus reform efforts on data protection and corporate governance, rather than attempting to regulate online speech.

Fluent in French and Spanish, Maréchal is a frequent speaker at digital rights events and academic conferences. Her work has been published by the International Journal of Communication, the Global Commission on Internet Governance, Media and Communication, Motherboard, and Slate. She holds a PhD in communication from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California, an MA in international communication from the School of International Service at American University, and a BA in international studies, also from AU. Maréchal lives in Washington, D.C.