Airbnb says investigation found no hidden cameras after viral post
(NEXSTAR) – An investigation of an Airbnb rental in Philadelphia found no hidden cameras, the vacation rental company and police department confirmed, despite viral social media posts claiming to show the devices disguised as fire sprinklers.
The photos and video posted to Twitter by user @foxytaughtyou claimed to show camera lenses hidden on sprinkler heads on the walls and ceilings of the property. She said she found 10 such “hidden cameras” throughout the house, including one pointing toward the shower in the bathroom, as well as one in the bedroom.
“Luckily it was a girls trip so I wasn’t having intercourse… but I was naked and had to change in this room,” she tweeted. The posts went viral on Twitter and TikTok.
Airbnb put reservations for the property on hold as the Philadelphia Police Department investigated. The department confirmed to Nexstar Tuesday that a detective responded to the complaint and found no undisclosed cameras. The fire sprinklers had typical sprinkler heads, a police spokesperson said.
“Regarding our guest, we appreciate how she felt and we will continue to provide her with our full support, including with a refund,” said an Airbnb spokesperson.
In her viral TikTok, the guest said she conducted a “flash test” on the sprinklers to see if they were cameras.
A “flash test” may refer to a technique popularized by a viral TikTok last year. The video advises people to flash lights into any suspiciously placed smoke detectors, alarm clocks or shower heads. If a hidden camera is inside, you might see the lens reflect a blue or red light.
While this investigation found no hidden cameras, Airbnb says it still takes allegations of such devices seriously.
“Our policies strictly prohibit hidden cameras and we take forceful action in the exceptionally rare circumstances where this has been reported, including assisting law enforcement to help them hold criminals accountable,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
The company allows listings to have surveillance cameras in public areas, like a driveway or front door, but it doesn’t allow cameras or other monitoring devices in spaces like bedrooms, bathrooms or living rooms guests might sleep in.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Tuesday at 3:05 PT with the outcome of the police investigation.