This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it on weekdays.

Here’s another way tech companies are becoming more like conventional companies: When they talk about jobs, it’s often a political message.

Last week, Google detailed the expansion of offices, computer data centers, and employees in the United States. The company didn’t say it, but it takes more people, buildings and infrastructure to keep growing and making money. It is smarter in politics and outreach to rename it an “investment in America”.

Google is not alone. Amazon has made its mammoth workforce its loudest political message that the company is helping Americans and the economy. IPhone maker Foxconn continues to promise high-tech jobs at its Wisconsin facility, despite failing to deliver on hiring promises for three years. Facebook and Apple regularly talk about how they support small businesses and help create jobs at app companies.

Growing companies are engines of economic growth, and it is nothing new for them to brag about what they do for political reasons. Defense companies could propose to members of Congress that a cut in the Pentagon budget could result in fewer jobs in a district or state owned by a legislature. Walmart reports how much it buys from American suppliers.

But it’s still strange to see tech companies play the same game of corporate soft power. This was an industry that has long said it doesn’t have to do the usual corporate crap of lobbying and promoting political power. That was never really true, but it has become even less.

As more and more people and politicians worry about the impact of tech companies on the economy and our lives, digital companies are being forced to put more effort into making people feel warm and fuzzy. One way to do this is to copy what boring old companies always did: watch their attitudes and growth.

Amazon is the epitome of a company that uses its attitudes and economic growth as a tool to influence how others perceive it. My colleague Karen Weise wrote about Amazon using its growing workforce of 1.3 million people as a force for political conviction.

Workers in Amazon warehouses go to Washington to meet with members of Congress and give lawmakers safety vests with the names of the company’s warehouses in their districts. Amazon regularly reviews its job openings and new warehouses and offices, and has a website that lists how much the company is spending in the US.

It’s a compelling message. Few companies in United States history have hired employees the way Amazon has recently done. And many cities and states want Amazon facilities in their backyards – and politicians want recognition for bringing those jobs to their area.

It’s also undeniable that all of this spending is for Amazon, not America. The company’s revenue is growing rapidly and its commitment to getting more packages to Prime members’ doorsteps in one day has hired employees, opened more depots near major population centers, and spent more on planes and trucks.

The desire to paint corporate necessities in the best possible light creates strange glasses at times. Apple basically patted its back in 2018 to pay taxes and buy devices used to make iPhones.

Let us help you protect your digital life

Tech companies become just like any other for-profit company. They want to be seen as a contribution to society and not just make money.

Tip of the week

I immediately checked my phone settings with this tip from Brian X. Chen, the consumer technology columnist for the New York Times:

Many of us rely on our smartphones for our everyday cameras. However, our phones collect a lot of data about us, and the camera software can automatically record our location when we take a photo. This is more often a potential security risk than a benefit.

Let’s start with the positive aspects. If you allow your camera to tag your location, photo management apps like Apple’s Photos and Google Photos can automatically sort pictures into albums by location. This is helpful when you are going on vacation and want to remember where you were when you took a snapshot.

But when you’re not traveling, tagging your location on photos isn’t great. For example, let’s say you just connected with someone on a dating app and texted a photo of your dog. If you had the location feature turned on when you took the photo, that person could analyze the data to see where you lived.

For security reasons, make sure that the photo location feature is turned off by default.

Here’s how to do this on iPhones: Open the Settings app, choose Privacy, then Location Services, and finally Camera. Under Allow Location Access, select Never.

On Androids, in the Camera app, tap the Settings icon that looks like a gear. Scroll to Mark Places or Save Place and toggle the switch to the off position.

You can activate the location function temporarily to document your vacation. However, remember to turn them off when your trip is over.

  • A very valuable chat app: My colleagues reported that Discord, a messaging app popular for group video games, was discussing the company’s sale to Microsoft. A sale may never take place, but the discussed price was more than $ 10 billion.

  • Meet Dr. Zoom: Some medical schools did a mortuary dissection using simulation software during the pandemic, and yes, it’s as strange as it sounds. My colleague Emma Goldberg spoke to doctors in training about how they have adapted to virtual learning in what is usually a very hands-on training.

  • Do you want to feel old and irrelevant ?! Ryan Kaji is 9 years old. His family has annual sales of $ 30 million on Ryan’s YouTube channels, which open up new toys, engage in craft projects, and execute. His family told Bloomberg News that the real money from these videos came from selling related goods, such as branded toys and clothing.

It’s officially spring here in the northern hemisphere. Relax in this stunning video of robins. (This was recommended by the New York Times Cooking Newsletter.)

We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think of this newsletter and what else you would like us to explore. You can reach us at

If you do not have this newsletter in your inbox yet, please register here.