How to Prevent X’s Audio and Video Calls Feature From Revealing Your IP Address

How to Prevent X’s Audio and Video Calls Feature From Revealing Your IP Address

X owner Elon Musk is dreaming of a world where people ditch their cell phones and instead make audio and video calls on the social media platform. Musk’s vision has elicited nearly collective horror from users of his platform—as well as potential risks to their IP addresses.

X began rolling out the audio and video calling feature, which was previously restricted to paid users, to everyone last week. However, hawk-eyed sleuths quickly noticed that the feature was automatically turned on, meaning that users had to manually go to their settings to turn it off. Only your mutuals or someone you’ve exchanged DMs with can call you by default, but that’s still potentially a lot of people.

Privacy researchers also sounded the alarm on the feature after learning that it revealed users’ IP address during calls. Notably, the option to protect users’ IP addresses is toggled off, which frankly makes no sense.

Zach Edwards, an independent privacy researcher, told Gizmodo that an IP address can allow third parties to track down your location and get their hands on other details of your online life.

“In major cities, an IP address can sometimes identify someone’s exact location, but usually it’s just close enough to be creepy. Like a 1 block radius around your house,” Edwards said via X direct messages. However, “sometimes if in a remote/rural location, the IP address 1000% identifies you.”

Law enforcement can use IP addresses to track down illegal behavior, such as child porn or pirating online content. Meanwhile, hackers can launch DDoS attacks to take down your internet connection or even steal your data.

Gizmodo Australia Editor’s note: This works for Aussie Twitter/X users!

How to turn off audio and video calls on X

Luckily, you can avoid potential IP security nightmares by turning off audio and video calls on X. As you’ll see in the screenshots below, it’s pretty straightforward:

– First, go to Settings and Support. Then click on Settings and Privacy. (If you’re on desktop, click on the More button and then go to Settings and Privacy).

– Next, click on Privacy and Safety. Select Direct Messages from the menu that pops up.

– Toggle off the option that says Enable audio and video calling.

Screenshot: Oscar Gonzalez

And that’s it. Some may not see the Enable audio and video calling option in their settings yet, which means the feature hasn’t been rolled out to them. That doesn’t mean they won’t eventually get it in a future update.

If you believe in Musk’s vision and want to make and receive your calls on X—huzzah, I guess. However, make sure to keep your IP address safe and toggle on the Enhanced call privacy option in the Direct Messages settings. And may the odds be ever in your favor.

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