Airbnb investigating viral posts claiming to find hidden cameras

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(NEXSTAR) – Airbnb has put stays on hold at one of its rentals in Philadelphia after social media posts claimed to show hidden cameras disguised as fire sprinklers in the property’s bedroom and bathroom.

The photos and video posted to Twitter by user @foxytaughtyou purportedly show what at first glance looks like a sprinkler head. However, a closer look revealed a small camera lens, the Twitter user said.

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.

On TikTok, the woman explains she didn’t notice the supposed cameras at first. After arriving at the Philadelphia Airbnb, she said she and a friend immediately got dressed and went out. But when they came back, they fell asleep on the couch.

“When we woke up in the morning and looked up, we discovered that this was a camera,” she says of a device that looks like a fire sprinkler above the couch. “We got on the chair, on stools and we did a flash test on these sprinklers and they are 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.

Airbnb said it is investigating the guest’s report of hidden cameras. As the company seeks to determine if there were in fact cameras hidden on the property, Airbnb says it has suspended the host and removed the listing from the platform.

“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.

While the company allows listings to have surveillance cameras in public areas, like a driveway or front door, it doesn’t allow cameras or other monitoring devices in spaces like bedrooms, bathrooms or living rooms guests might sleep in.

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