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Twitter is adding calls and encrypted messaging

The Twitter splash page is seen on a digital device, on April 25, 2022, in San Diego. After several false starts, Twitter began making good on its promise Thursday, April 20, 2023, to remove the blue checks from accounts that don't pay a monthly fee to keep them. Twitter had about 300,000 verified users under the original blue-check system — many of them journalists, athletes and public figures. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

(CNN) — Twitter is adding encrypted messaging to the platform Wednesday, and calls will follow shortly, CEO Elon Musk tweeted late Tuesday.

“Release of encrypted DMs [direct messages] V1.0 should happen tomorrow. This will grow in sophistication rapidly. The acid test is that I could not see your DMs even if there was a gun to my head,” he said.

“Coming soon will be voice and video chat from your handle to anyone on this platform, so you can talk to people anywhere in the world without giving them your phone number.”

The move comes as Musk, who took control of Twitter six months ago, looks for ways to return the platform to growth. Its future looks increasingly uncertain in the face of dwindling advertising revenue and increased competition from rivals such as Mastodon and BlueSky, developed by Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey.

Adding calls and encrypted messaging could allow Twitter to compete with Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, which owns Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Billions of people around the world use those platforms to communicate daily with family and friends, including in groups. Twitter, meanwhile, reported 238 million monetizable daily users last July.

Since taking the company private in October, Musk has turned Twitter on its head. A number of users, celebrities and media organizations have said they plan to leave the platform over recent policy changes, which they say threaten to make it less safe and reliable.

Right-wing TV host Tucker Carlson said Tuesday he would relaunch his program on Twitter, which he praised as the only remaining large free-speech platform in the world after Fox News fired him last month.