Airbnb guest speaking with caption 'we are at our Airbnb and we think there's a camera in the light bulb' (l) camera in light fixture with caption 'tell me that is not a camera' with Airbnb logo at bottom (c) police officer taking apart Airbnb light fixture (r)

@katelyn_boss19/TikTok Remix by Caterina Cox

‘Hotels will always be a better and safer choice’: Airbnb guests claim to find camera in their rental

'Why do people keep booking Airbnb?'


Marlin Ramos


Posted on Jun 29, 2023   Updated on Jun 29, 2023, 1:15 pm CDT

In a TikTok video, which was viewed nearly 12 million times, user Katelyn (@Katelyn_boss2000) claimed that she and her fellow Airbnb guest spotted what they believe is a camera in a light fixture in their Florida rental.

Katelyn, who has nearly 70,000 followers on TikTok, panned the camera over to show viewers the ceiling light fixture, which has a cylinder structure inside and what they believe might be a lens on one end and a wire sticking out of the cylinder toward the back. “Tell me that is not a camera,” Katelyn said while zooming in on the light fixture.

“Hi, um, we think our Airbnb has hidden cameras, and I feel like I’m being watched, and I just do not feel safe in my Airbnb,” the guest that Katelyn is with says while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher. The two then go outside the Airbnb to wait for the police officers to arrive after their call.

Katelyn filmed the officers examining the light fixture. One police officer stood on top of a chair and attempted to unscrew something in the light fixture, and another officer scanned the Airbnb rental with a flashlight.


Florida energy

♬ original sound – Katelyn_boss2000

Katelyn said in a follow-up video that the cops disagreed on whether there was a camera in the light fixture. “We still don’t know if it’s a camera,” Katelyn said.

Per its website, Airbnb prohibits “concealed and undisclosed devices monitoring common spaces” and “devices located in or monitoring private spaces.” “Devices should never monitor private spaces (ex: bedrooms, bathrooms, or common areas that are being used as sleeping areas, like a living room with a sofa bed). Disconnected devices are allowed as long as they are turned off and proactively disclosed to guests,” Airbnb states.

Katelyn said in her video the fixture in question was pointed toward a mirror in a room they had changed clothes in and that they moved the fixture to face away from the mirror after the alleged discovery.

She said they are staying at the rental, adding in a comment that they “have nowhere else to go.” Katelyn also later addressed criticism over their decision to call 911 and not the non-emergency number. “I totally hear you. I totally believe 911 should be for like accidents and like people who are actually hurt,” she said. “But we had no idea if this was a live camera. We had no idea if someone was actually watching us because we’re visiting Miami. We are girls.”

Viewers overwhelming defended their decision in the comments section, saying they did the right thing and that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Aribnb itself even recommends contacting local authorities “if you or someone else feels threatened or unsafe.”

She also added that they will not be contacting the Airbnb host but will be “contacting Airbnb to see if they can send somebody out.”

In the next follow-up, Katelyn shared they got a new Airbnb and said in a comment “Airbnb is paying for this.”

In a later video, Katelyn confirmed Airbnb set them up with the new rental, lauding the company’s response of the matter. “Airbnb is actually amazing,” she said. “They got us this new place—so much better than our last place. And we’re going to be here for the next week.”

And in a final update on the matter, Katelyn said that not only did Airbnb give them a full refund but that it comped their new rental. “Airbnb has been great at communicating with us, messaging us, and making sure that we have got everything that we needed,” Katelyn said.

Katelyn said that Airbnb “closed the case,” but they were left with no answers. “So I don’t know if they were just gonna pay us and let us move on with our lives, or if they just didn’t find anything,” she said.

While Airbnb seemed to remedy the situation for Katelyn, Airbnb’s safety measures came under scrutiny. “Why do people keep booking Airbnb? Hotels will always be a better and safer choice,” one commenter said.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Katelyn, the Miami Police Department, and Airbnb via email for comment.

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*First Published: Jun 29, 2023, 1:14 pm CDT