X Calls are a privacy nightmare, here’s how to fix them

  • All users, regardless of whether they subscribe to X Premium or not, can now make and receive audio or video calls on X.
  • Unfortunately, X video and audio calls reveal your IP address by default.
  • The option to hide your IP address is also curiously, disabled out of the box.

Last week, X, formerly Twitter, rolled out its next evolution on the road to becoming an everything app, audio and video calls for all.

The feature, unlike many others, is available to all users not only X Premium subscribers. Users will need to download the X app for Android or Apple iOS to make calls as the functionality isn’t available on the web.

Earlier in February, Elon Musk said that he’d discontinue his phone number “in a few months” and move all of his communication to X.

However, shortly after rolling out the ability to call all users on X, a problem was spotted by keen-eyed users. When making calls to others, the IP addresses of the participants are visible to each other. Audio and video calls were turned on by default for all X users last week.

This is a privacy nightmare but thankfully you can enable a feature called Enhanced Call Privacy. This setting is switched off by default and you will head to Settings and Privacy, then tap Privacy and Safety, then tap Direct Messages and scroll down to enable Enhanced call privacy. You can also disable the ability to make and receive calls from the Direct Messages menu.

It’s rather bizarre that this feature was released with such a gaping privacy hole, especially when Elon Musk throttled accounts that reposted news about a jet tracking account being suspended from Twitter. In 2022, an account that tracked Elon Musk’s jet was suspended and journalists who covered the news were also suspended. According to Musk, “They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service”, which earned the journalists a suspension.

Thankfully, those accounts were reinstated shortly after the altercation.

While an IP address can’t reveal your exact location, it can be used to find which city or province you may be living in which for some, might be problematic.

We highly recommend that our readers enable Enhanced call privacy or disable audio and video calling entirely. The fact that X has chosen to roll this feature out without privacy measures enabled by default is surely going to cause issues, especially in the European Union where firms tend to get fined billions for seemingly minimal privacy transgressions.

[Image – 526663 from Pixabay]


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