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Recode Daily: Why Instagram’s co-founders are leaving

Plus: Satellite radio giant SirusXM is taking over streaming service Pandora; how Russia helped swing the election for Trump; the official meatloaf of National Punctuation Day.

Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom hold a piece of paper that reads, “We are founders for change” and has their signatures.
Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom

Instagram’s co-founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, are leaving the company they founded in 2010 and sold to Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion. They shaped virtually everything about Instagram’s culture and product for the past six years: Systrom was the product visionary and was hands-on even after bringing in other product execs to do more of the day-to-day execution; Krieger was actively running Instagram’s engineering team and was seen by many internally as the company’s “heart and soul.” In a statement on Instagram’s blog, Systrom implied that he and Krieger would look to build something else.

Why are they leaving? Systrom and Krieger have already stuck around longer than most startup founders, thanks to the independence that Facebook granted them for years. But as Instagram becomes more important to Facebook’s future, Facebook is exerting more control over the group — and that “frustration and agitation with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s increased meddling and control over Instagram” led to their departure, according to sources. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

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U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is set to meet with President Donald Trump on Thursday amid questions about his future with the Justice Department. Yesterday, it appeared that Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, was prepared to resign in the wake of reports that he suggested secretly recording the president following the firing of FBI Director James Comey. [Devlin Barrett, Ashley Parker, Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Heiderman / The Washington Post]

Another D.C. showdown is shaping up for Thursday: Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault while the two were teenagers, is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s ranking Democrat, called for a delay in proceedings following a new allegation related to Kavanaugh’s time at Yale. Trump stood by Kavanaugh, calling allegations of sexual misconduct against him “totally political”; Kavanaugh has vowed not to withdraw his nomination. [Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Nicholas Fandos / The New York Times]

Satellite radio company SiriusXM is taking over streaming service Pandora in a $3.5 billion all-stock deal; Sirius bought a large stake in Pandora last summer. The deal, if approved, would give Sirius a large customer base outside the car and would make SiriusXM the “world’s largest audio entertainment company,” combining SiriusXM’s 36 million subscribers with Pandora’s more than 70 million monthly active users. Sirius stock fell 10 percent after the merger was announced, its worst one-day performance in more than seven years. [Dan Frommer / Recode]

Apple is partnering with to improve mobile apps for businesses. The companies are also working on creating a new app development tool called Salesforce Lightning Platform that would make it easier for businesses to develop and implement apps on Apple devices. [Kimberly Chin / The Wall Street Journal]

How Russia helped swing the election for Trump: The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer presents a meticulous analysis of online activity during the 2016 campaign that makes a powerful case that targeted cyberattacks by hackers and trolls were decisive. James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, told Mayer that “it stretches credulity to think the Russians didn’t turn the election.” Meanwhile, the New York Times is suing the FCC, which has “thrown up a series of roadblocks” to compel the agency to release records that might reveal Russian government interference. [Jane Mayer / The New Yorker]

[Listen to the full interview on this week’s Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.]

Hacking the laws of heredity: A breakthrough study could lead toward ending malaria with Crispr-edited mosquitoes. After 15 years and $100 million, scientists from London’s Imperial College have succeeded in wiping out caged cohorts of the malaria-touting pesticide-resistant mosquito Anopheles gambiae in as few as seven generations, representing the “first-ever annihilation of a population of animals via gene drive.” [Megan Molteni / Wired]

American “affordable luxury” brand Michael Kors is close to a deal to buy struggling Italian fashion house Versace for around $2.35 billion. The sale would mark one of the first attempts by an American fashion company to run an elite European brand. Is Kors overpaying for one of the glitziest names in high fashion? [Matthew Dalton and Suzanne Kapner / The Wall Street Journal]

Top stories from Recode

Google is following Instagram and Snapchat with a big push into Stories.

Everyone loves Stories. Everyone including Google. [Kurt Wagner]

The fault lines emerging in America’s football addiction.

On this episode of Recode Media, Kara Swisher talked with Mark Leibovich, author of “Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times,” about the public debate over NFL players who kneel in protest during the National Anthem and whether journalists should change the way they cover politics and sports. [Kara Swisher]

This is cool

Anytime’s a good time to make the official meatloaf of National Punctuation Day.

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