TikTok user William Stark has created quite the conversation from his recent viral video regarding Airbnbs. In the video, a guest of Stark’s covers up the Ring camera as he walks to the door. The video says “That time an Airbnb guest thought it was a good idea to put a towel over the ring camera.” The video, which now has over 100,000 likes and thousands of comments, is sparking a conversation regarding privacy in an Airbnb.
Ring cameras have become incredibly popular lately, as they alert when someone is approaching the door or ringing the doorbell. This allows people, whether they are home or not, to check to see activity happening outside their door without physically being there. It is not just Airbnb hosts who own these, as many homeowners have installed these as well for extra security. However, many believe that the guests were seeking privacy and that is why they decided to cover the doorbell. In the caption, the host calls them a bonehead and the idiot squad, but some are wondering why the want for privacy is dumb. Others are arguing that cameras inside the home would be concerning, as that would be considered a private space, but the doorbell is not something considered private.
Some said this proves why they will always choose to stay in a hotel, as they do not want to risk private or hidden cameras. However, many pointed out that hotels have cameras surveying the hallways or entrances for security, and this is ideally the same thing. One person writes “Cameras outside of a house that you don’t own is not an invasion of privacy.” However, other comments pointed out that while both hotels and Airbnbs who use the Ring doorbell might be similar, at a hotel someone would not have to worry about their footage being shown on social media.
Essentially, the argument differs about why someone would want to cover up a doorbell unless they were bringing extra guests or non-registered animals. However, others still maintain that since it is private property, the person could do what they wish with the footage and they might find that uncomfortable. Some maintain that Airbnbs are for privacy, especially since many Airbnbs only require self-check-in and limited interaction with the owner. In an unrelated video posted after, a police officer is called to the Airbnb for a loud party and exploding fireworks.
Though the video was unrelated to the one posted prior, this points to why Stark might feel comfortable with the Ring camera being accessible, as he can have easier access to what is occurring on the property. In the footage posted, Stark was able to talk to the officer, explain that he is the owner of the property but not there, and get information in return. However, people are still maintaining that they would prefer to be in a hotel where they know security is maintained without the risk of privacy invsasion