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Recode Daily: AT&T gets to 5G first, launching its next-generation mobile service on Friday

Plus: Charter gets socked with the largest-ever consumer payout by an ISP; controversial ex-Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski hypes his new project with a no-hands cross-country drive; where do those giant car bows come from?

AT&T’s Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot

AT&T is launching 5G mobile service in a dozen U.S. cities beginning this Friday, becoming the first carrier to do so. (Rival Verizon launched its 5G Home network in October, but it’s based on something called 5G TF, not to be confused with 5G NR, more commonly accepted as the industry’s commercial 5G standard.) Don’t expect too much from AT&T’s next-generation high-speed service right out of the box — it’s only available via a $499 mobile hotspot for now, since 5G-capable phones are not due out until next year; data service will cost $70 per month for 15 gigabytes of data. [Ina Fried / Axios]

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Charter Communications, the parent company of Spectrum, will pay a $174.2 million settlement following a 2017 lawsuit over misleading internet speeds — it’s the largest-ever consumer payout by an internet service provider. The lawsuit, led by then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, alleged that Charter’s speeds were up to 80 percent slower than advertised. The payout will come in two forms: $62.5 million that will be refunded to 700,000 active customers (each will get between $75 and $150) and an additional $110 million in free streaming services and premium cable channels distributed to 2.2 million subscribers in New York. The settlement also requires Charter to prove its internet speeds through “industry-accepted testing” and to provide its customers with hardware that can actually reach the advertised speeds. [Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge]

Anthony Levandowski has come out of stealth with a new project. The controversial former Uber self-driving-car engineer whose shenanigans helped spur a multimillion dollar lawsuit between Waymo and Uber, has designed a camera-based advanced driver assist system called Co-Pilot, which is aimed at the long-haul trucking industry. And he took it for a test drive: A four-day, 3,000-mile journey from San Francisco to New York without any human intervention. Levandowski claimed to be sitting in the driver’s seat for the entire 3,099-mile journey, but he says he did not touch the steering wheels or pedals, aside from planned stops to rest and refuel. [Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge]

New Senate reports on Russia’s disinformation campaign accuse Facebook, Google and Twitter of being evasive and withholding data about Russian activity on their platforms. The reports also found that Russia ran a campaign to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller, and used Instagram for several distinct purposes, including cultivation of identity groups, seeding voter fraud rumors and post-election propaganda. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a blog post that the social media company needs to step up its efforts to protect users from misinformation campaigns, after researchers revealed that Russian trolls took particular aim at black voters during the 2016 presidential election. Sandberg’s comments came after the NAACP called for a one-week boycott of Facebook’s platforms in protest. Wondering how you can help fight the information wars? Don’t look to Silicon Valley to save us, writes Kara Swisher — we’re on our own. [Sheera Frenkel, Daisuke Wakabayashi and Kate Conger / The New York Times]

The first television ad for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign aired Monday night on CNN. Callers who actually dial the 800 number are given a chance to leave Trump a brief message and shower him with love and praise — namely, to tell him “thank you, President Trump!” After they’re done, a recording of campaign manager Brad Parscale comes on to pester callers for campaign donations. The number, for everyone who’s wondering, is 1-800-684-3043, in case you have your own message for the president. [River Donaghey / Vice]

Top stories from Recode

Facebook removed hundreds more Pages linked to the Myanmar military for promoting hate speech against ethnic minorities. The accounts were used to “drive specific anti-Rohingya messages” — the same kind of messages that have played into a broader genocide in Myanmar. [Kurt Wagner]

Snap has a new Spectacles boss, its third in the past six months. Snap’s hardware team has seen a lot of changes this year. [Kurt Wagner]

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