In recent weeks, there have been discussions and questions about how we handle safety reports at Couchsurfing, and what we do to protect the members of our community. Safety is our top priority and we want you to know what we do to ensure your safety.
Our Trust and Safety team works tirelessly to prevent scams, spam, sexual harassment, and other crimes from happening on Couchsurfing. In the past few years, we have made significant, ongoing investments in Trust and Safety, from expanding our Trust and Safety team to vastly improving their existing backend tools and integrating new ones. We do not simply pay lip service to safety, it’s at the heart of everything we do.
When do we remove profiles from Couchsurfing?
We do not allow members that pose a risk to our community to remain on the site for any reason. Period.
That said, when we do remove a profile on Couchsurfing, that decision is permanent and means that person is no longer welcome in the Couchsurfing community. We do not take this decision lightly.
When dealing with situations in which we often have little more than conflicting accounts and member history, our team investigates and uses their extensive experience to make the correct decision to ensure that others do not have a similar experience. Depending on the severity of the report as well as account history, we may decide to warn or suspend someone to give them a chance to correct their behavior.
For crimes committed on Couchsurfing, as well as behavior that we have reasonable cause to expect will continue despite a warning or suspension, we take permanent action. This is often done based on individual reports which helps ensure the continued safety of the Couchsurfing community. We do not require a police report, conviction, or multiple reports to take these actions. We also take permanent action based off of other indicators such as flags, blocks, references, reports, and policy/community guidelines violations. Permanent action is never taken without human review.
What if someone creates a new profile?
We have mechanisms in place that help detect when someone creates a new account, and will remove them immediately. If you see or are contacted by a duplicate profile, please report it immediately.
What can you do to help us keep Couchsurfing safe?
If you see something, say something.
There are a range of warning signs our Trust and Safety team uses to evaluate whether members on the site have anything but the purest intentions. You can spot these warning signs too. Please report any member that:
- Asks you for money or labor
- Makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable
- Is persistent about moving to an outside platform, such as Whatsapp and Facebook
- Says they’ve used a different Couchsurfing profile before
- Sends a message that does not seem to align with Couchsurfing’s community guidelines
Leave honest references.
The reference system is in place to help members of the Couchsurfing community understand what it is like to host or stay with a particular member. After your experience, help other Couchsurfing members by providing an honest review of your stay and your host or surfer.
If you are not comfortable leaving a completely honest reference, you can reach out to the Trust and Safety team directly. They are available 24/7 and take every report of inappropriate behavior seriously. They review each case based on its individual merits and will often get back to you within an hour.
Keep communication on the Couchsurfing platform.
Be wary of members who ask for hosts or offer to host you on other social media platforms on Couchsurfing. Be sure to ask members for links to their Couchsurfing profile and to send an official Couch Request before accepting their request. As always, review all references before you make your decision, and keep in mind that there is no guarantee that members of Couchsurfing groups on Facebook, whatsapp, or other platforms have active profiles and a clean record with the Trust and Safety Team.
Do you report people to the police and law enforcement?
We cannot file police reports for crimes reported directly to our safety team.
If you are the victim of a crime on Couchsurfing, you should immediately report it to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. We will assist law enforcement with their investigation should they request it.
The Couchsurfing community is made of millions of self-less, honest people—some of the best we've ever met. We're grateful that the vast majority of Couchsurfing experiences are not only positive, but downright life changing. It both saddens and angers us that some choose to take advantage of other member’s trust, and we will work tirelessly to keep safety at the forefront of every decision we make for the good of the global Couchsurfing community.