Should you be worried about hidden cameras in Airbnbs?

“BE CAREFUL BOOKING AIR BNBs! My friend and I recently stayed in an air bnb in Philadelphia with over 10 hidden cameras throughout the house. Including showers and bedrooms. Some were disguised as sprinkler systems, but it has a camera lens,” user @foxytaughtyou tweeted on June 12, alongside two photos of the alleged sprinkler cameras.

The post, which currently has more than 60,000 retweets and more than 300,000 likes, has sparked heated discourse around host malpractice and guest safety. Even when, 48 hours later, an Airbnb representative said TMZ that a detective from the Philadelphia Police Department had “[c]It was confirmed that he did not find any hidden or undisclosed cameras and that the fire sprinklers had regular sprinkler heads”, and that the case was about to be closed, the conversation ended. continued.

“Maybe you should just grab a hotel room and avoid this mess. AirBnBs are ruining housing markets, rent prices and neighborhoods. People who continue to have AirBnBs instead of hotels in are the reason,” one Twitter user said. “I mean, it’s just cheaper. I tried to rent a hotel for 1 month and it was going to cost me 13,000… Air bnb was 3,000 for the month,” another joked.

Likely in response to the initial post, a second tweet started making the rounds, encouraging Airbnb users to use Fing, an app that lets you see all wifi-connected devices. “[G]irlies who use airbnb, download the app [Fing]. It shows you everything in the house where you are connected to wifi 🙂 this helped my friends and I realize our host was recording our sound levels in secret to try and charge us extra lol. Also shows home cameras! @howietrbl wrote.

On the same day as the initial tweet, Gary Leff from Wing view published a (seemingly unrelated) article titled “Why Uber is Great and Airbnb is Horrible”. “Airbnb is awful. It’s full of scammers, it’s often more expensive than hotels, and of course you pay a cleaning fee but you still have to clean the place yourself,” Leff wrote. “Also, when you rent a specific unit rather than one of many, and the owner wants to return that unit without missing a night, it’s hard to do anything other than 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. check-in with plenty of time for cleaning in between.”

So, is Airbnb really as bad and dangerous as the internet would have you believe? In my opinion: No.

Of course there are pitfalls and there are a number of issues to address, but overall I think the vast majority of individual hosts are well-meaning people who depend on the platform to earn money. silver. Are some of the fees a bit predatory? Yes. Is it as flexible as it claims? Barely. But it’s a more viable option for families and, like Gilbert Ott of god save the dots points out, it also helps curb overtourism by enticing people to stay in places they otherwise wouldn’t have known or considered.

And for those concerned about security, it’s worth mentioning that many of the issues that have arisen recently are not exclusive to Airbnb. There have been cases of hidden cameras in hotel rooms. The thing is, travel requires due diligence and a level of awareness where safety is involved.

That said, coincidentally this week Airbnb rolled out a series of updates aimed at increasing the safety of solo travelers, who make up 26% of all nights booked in 2021 and 50% of nights booked for long-term stays. during the first quarter of 2022. Going forward, when a solo guest makes a booking, it will trigger a specialized experience in the app, which will provide the traveler with expert advice, a shareable itinerary and suggested questions to ask the host.

“Our hope is that this new product will better equip solo travelers on Airbnb to be more informed travelers by getting their pre-trip questions answered, giving them a better understanding of their surroundings, and educating people important in their lives of where they will be. and for how long,” Airbnb said in a statement.

Another thing to mention? Sometimes a sprinkler really is just a sprinkler.

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