Video and audio calls on X, formerly Twitter, will be for paying subscribers only

You'll have to pay Musk for the feature that's found for free on other platforms.
By Matt Binder  on 
X Premium
Audio and video calls on X won't be for everyone. Just paying X Premium subscribers. Credit: Harun Ozalp/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Elon Musk has stated numerous times that he's looking to turn X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, into an "everything" app. One upcoming feature to push the company in that direction is the ability to make audio and video phone calls.

However, according to new code found in the latest version of the X app, it appears that this major new feature isn't going to be for everyone. It's just going to be for the roughly 1 million users paying $8 per month for the X Premium subscription service.

In a short thread on, well, Threads, longtime tech evangelist and creator of the hashtag Chris Messina shared screenshots of the code that he found in the X app related to the audio and video phone call feature.

"As hinted in Linda's sizzle reel, X will be adding audio and video calls shortly. (Just to be clear: don't call me, I'll call you.)," Messina posted, referring to a controversial promo video that X CEO Linda Yaccarino shared last week.

"Ah, and you'll of course have to PAY for that feature, because Skype is dead," Messina continued.

TechCrunch provided a further breakdown of what was in the code, highlighting how the call feature is tied in with the current Direct Message options, and attempting to use the feature as a non-paying user will provide a prompt to subscribe to X Premium.

"Take messaging to the next level with audio and video calls," reads the X code. "Turn the feature on and then select who you’re comfortable using it with."

"Audio and video calls are a premium feature," reads the prompt in the code when a non-paying user tries to select the call option. "Subscribe to gain access."

Of course, it is possible that X changes course or rolls audio and video calls out for all users at a later date. However, as of now, it looks to be a paid feature.

Employees working on the upcoming audio and video call capabilities on X have previously shared screenshots of their work. Musk himself has tweeted about it as well, laying out the features.

"Works on iOS, Android, Mac & PC…No phone number needed…X is the effective global address book," Musk posted. "That set of factors is unique."

But, no, that set of features is not unique. 

As Messina alludes to, Skype certainly is a shadow of its former self, but it's still very much alive. Discord, a very current and popular chat platform, offers users audio and video call capabilities. Same for Facebook Messenger. These services are all cross-platform and do not require a phone number. And they are all free to use. It's unclear why one would pay for X Premium for this service when they can find other established call options with the same features for free. 

It's also unclear how this moves the needle for X Premium, the company's underperforming paid subscription service. As Mashable previously reported, the creator monetization feature was likely the biggest value-add for potential customers, as one had to subscribe to be eligible for payment. However, of the more than half a billion monthly users that Musk claims X has, just around 1 million have decided to sign up nearly one full year after the subscription service's launch.

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