Daily Crunch: Instacart CEO apologizes

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1. Instacart CEO apologizes for tipping debacle

On the heels of a recently filed class-action lawsuit over wages and tips, as well as drivers and shoppers speaking out about Instacart’s alleged practices of subsidizing wages with tips, Instacart is taking steps to ensure tips are counted separately from what Instacart pays shoppers.

“While our intention was to increase the guaranteed payment for small orders, we understand that the inclusion of tips as a part of this guarantee was misguided,” said CEO Apoorva Mehta in a blog post. “We apologize for taking this approach.”

2. Match Group fully acquires relationship-focused app Hinge

Last year, Match Group acquired a 51 percent stake in the relationship-focused dating app Hinge, in order to diversify its portfolio of dating apps led by Tinder. The company has now confirmed that it fully bought out Hinge in the past quarter.

3. German antitrust office limits Facebook’s data gathering

A lengthy antitrust probe into how Facebook gathers data on users has resulted in Germany’s competition watchdog banning the social network giant from combining data on users across its own suite of social platforms without their consent.

4. Twitter Q4 beats on sales of $909M and EPS of $0.33, but MAUs slump to just 321M

Twitter’s Achilles’ heel remains user growth.

5. Amazon, Sequoia invest in self-driving car startup Aurora

Aurora, the buzzy startup founded by early pioneers of self-driving car technology who led programs at Google, Tesla and Uber, has raised more than $530 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia, a round that also includes “significant investment” from Amazon and T. Rowe Price Associates.

6. Why Spotify is betting big on podcasting

In an interview with TechCrunch, Spotify’s chief R&D officer Gustav Söderström admits that the company wasn’t doing a particularly good job serving up podcasting content: “The user experience was really poor.”

7. Skype can now blur the background during video calls

The Microsoft-owned service’s latest addition is a screen-blurring feature designed to obscure your messy room or any other background details that you’d rather not display to the other party on the line.

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