Elon Musk to Add Audio & Video Calls to X (Twitter): Will Scam Bots Take Over?
In the rapidly changing social media ecosystem, Elon Musk’s announcement about incorporating audio and video calls into X, formerly Twitter, resonates as a transformative move. According to Musk, these new features will be available on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Mac, and PC.
No phone number will be needed for these calls, an element Musk termed as unique, stating, “X is the effective global address book.”
Elon Musk Beefs Up X (Twitter) With Video and Audio Call Capabilities
The decision comes as part of an ongoing strategy to redefine the social media platform, challenging its competitors, particularly Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, explained in a CNBC interview that these features aim to “enhance communication” and provide new avenues for connection.
The audio and video calls will be housed within the Direct Message (DM) menu, embracing a design philosophy similar to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
X Corp. CEO Linda Yaccarino says she has ‘autonomy’ under Elon Musk
In a recent series of developments, Musk has broadened the functionality of X. Twitter now enables creators to share revenue, features videos that can extend up to two hours, and has unveiled a new professional networking feature called “Hirings,” designed to compete with LinkedIn. With Musk’s latest announcement, it seems he’s inching closer to his vision of transforming X into a one-stop platform. One that offers a suite of services ranging from social networking to video sharing, professional engagement, and even financial transactions.
However, amid the enthusiasm, a red flag rises. Just last month, scientists identified a network of AI bots on X that produce machine-generated content. They also create fake personas by stealing selfies. The study by Indiana University found that these bots, part of a network called the “Fox8” botnet, aim to defraud users by promoting fake cryptocurrencies. They also actively distort online conversations and disseminate misinformation.
Scientists Kai-Cheng Yang and Filippo Mencze found that,
“With the advent and availability of free AI APIs [application programming interfaces] like ChatGPT, we wanted to see if these tools are already being exploited to fool people. And it turns out they are, sadly but not surprisingly. Based on this clue, we searched Twitter [X] for the phrase ‘as an ai language model,’ between Oct. 1, 2022, and April 23, 2023, which led to 12,226 tweets by 9,112 unique accounts.”
Will These Features Be Exploited by Scammers?
Given the already documented vulnerabilities, there are pressing questions on how bots could potentially exploit the new audio and video calling features. Fraud detection in text-based content is already a challenge in itself. However, screening for fraudulent activity within audio and video conversations opens a new Pandora’s box of complexities.
Moreover, the situation is not unique to X. Cybersecurity experts have been alerting the public about scams like the Google Voice verification scam, which manipulates users into sharing verification codes and thereby, their identities. Similarly, ZachXBT, an on-chain crypto scam investigator, recently sounded alarms over scam accounts exploiting Twitter’s verification system to dupe crypto investors. If seasoned cyber investigators are raising these concerns, it casts a shadow over Musk’s ambitious plans.
The audio and video call features aim to boost user engagement and make the platform more versatile. It also heightens the ethical and security responsibilities of the team at X. Musk has been at the forefront of innovation, from electric vehicles to space travel. But the social media sphere offers different challenges.
Balancing user experience with security is not merely a technical issue. It’s also a question of ethics and responsibility, particularly in a world where misinformation can have real-world consequences.
Musk’s ambitions for X are indeed revolutionary, but they come with strings attached. The features are set to be rolled out in the coming weeks. It will be crucial to monitor how the platform manages the added complexity layer relating to user experience and security.