Instacart workers say the app’s algorithm screwed them over

In March and April, when people were trying not to venture outside, demand for grocery shopping on demand via Instacart spiked dramatically. At the same time, though, newly laid-off workers joined the app in droves, hoping to make a living in the gig economy. The company “hired” 300,000 new shoppers to brave the freezer aisle on behalf of strangers who sometimes tipped and sometimes didn’t. But the demand for on-demand groceries didn’t stay sky-high for long, Vice reports, and soon the number of available shoppers seemed to exceed the number of grocery orders on the app. Many long-time shoppers soon saw their earnings crater after the app got rid of a ranking feature that lobbed them good gigs. Now, the company has reinstated the ranking system, though it’s hard to imagine it will fix all the underlying problems.

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