# Couchsurfing Policies

The following policies are in place to ensure that Couchsurfing remains a fun and safe place for everyone. Note: the policies below are enforced under Terms of Use sections 4.1 and 4.2 and provided for further insight. Review the Couchsurfing Terms of Use in its entirety for complete details. Please also see our Privacy and Trademark Policies. Violations of these policies may result in a range of actions including, but not limited to:

  • Removal of violating content
  • Warning
  • Removal of access to elements of the site or features
  • Temporary or permanent Profile deactivation

Conduct Policy

1. Don’t Spam: We value human interaction and want the content on our site and sent to our members to be personalized and valuable. Copying and pasting the same message across the site, in member-to-member messages, Couch Requests, Groups, Local discussions or Event listings is not permitted. Messaging many members that have not shown an intent to receive the type of message you are sending may also be considered spam.

2. Don’t Look for a Date: Our members join Couchsurfing to create friendships. Don’t contact other members for dating, or use the site to find sexual partners. We take reports of unwanted sexual advances, both online and offline, seriously and they may be considered violations of our Conduct policy. This may include, but is not limited to, systematic attempts to contact other members about non-hosting/surfing related matters and sexually suggestive behavior. Respect others’ boundaries. If another Couchsurfer lets you know they are uncomfortable, respect their feelings and take a step back.

3. Don’t Charge for Your Couch: Our community offers free exchange of hospitality. Asking for money or labor in exchange for your couch, or referring members to paid accommodation services, is not allowed.

4. Don’t Intimidate, Stalk, or Harass: Stalking, intimidation, threats, and harassment of other members is prohibited. Harassment is defined as a pattern of offensive behavior that appears to have the purpose of adversely affecting a targeted person or persons. Examples of harassment include making threats, repeated unwanted contacts with a person, and posting the personal information of another person. Couchsurfing reserves the right to take action (see above) on profiles we believe may pose a threat to future hosts, surfers, or the Couchsurfing community.

5. Do Create Only One Profile: Duplicate, fake, and joke profiles are not allowed. The first profile that you create must be you and is the only one that you may have. Our trust network needs everyone to stand by their reputation.

6. Be Yourself: Misrepresenting yourself as someone else is prohibited. This includes representation as an agent, representative, employee, or affiliate of Couchsurfing.

7. Keep It Legal: Don’t engage in nor encourage illegal activity; don’t violate any applicable law or regulation.

8. Do Use Couchsurfing Properly: Using Couchsurfing in a way that could interfere with other members from fully enjoying the site or that could impair the functioning of the site is prohibited. This includes behavior that causes excessive reports, flags, or blocks from other members. We may prohibit proactive outreach on communications that are flagged by Couchsurfing members or that we believe harm the experience for other Couchsurfers. Additionally, posting anything to the site that includes viruses, corrupted data, or other potentially harmful code. Attempting to circumvent Couchsurfing systems, or using these systems in a manner which undermines their intent, is prohibited.

9. Don’t Force Your Beliefs and Lifestyle Choices on Others: Couchsurfing is proud of the diversity of its members. Using our platform to recruit other members to join your lifestyle or belief system may be a violation of our Conduct policy. Don’t make the adoption of your lifestyle or belief system a condition of your couch offers. While certain house rules are expected, if we believe that the conditions imposed on the surfer introduce risk, harms the experience of our members, or damages the reputation of Couchsurfing, we reserve the right to prohibit the requirement.

10. Don’t take conversations off the Couchsurfing platform: We want to make sure that you have meaningful, engaging, and safe interactions with other members. Our Trust & Safety Team works around the clock monitoring the site for misuse and reviewing member reports. Accessing interactions is the best way for our team to identify issues and react quickly. This is why we do not allow members to exchange external communication information without a confirmed couch request. Never share your phone number, group chat links, email address, or other personal information with the intent of moving conversations off-site (this includes profiles, messages, hangouts, groups, public trips, and events). If you have a confirmed stay with a member, exchanging phone numbers is allowed as backup communication; however, we ask that conversations still take place on the website or within the mobile app when possible.

Content Policy

Content that we believe, in our sole discretion, falls into any of the following categories is prohibited:

1. Hate Speech and Offensive Language: Hate speech, particularly speech that disparages any ethnic, racial, sexual or religious group by stereotypical depiction or is otherwise abusive or inflammatory, including content that contains offensive language or images

2. Sexually Explicit Content: Contains nudity, sexually explicit content or is otherwise obscene, sexually exploitive of minors, pornographic, indecent, lewd, or suggestive

3. Personally Identifiable Information: Contains private or personal information about another person, such as phone number or address

4. Illegal and Infringing: Unlawful content or content for which Couchsurfing has received a court order to remove, or content that infringes on the rights of a third party, including intellectual property, privacy, publicity or contractual rights

5. Glamorizing Violence: Incites violence or characterizes violence as acceptable, glamorous or desirable

6. Commercial or Promotional: Contains unsolicited promotions, political campaigning, advertising or solicitations - including content used to promote a business or product - without our prior written consent

Reporting violations of Couchsurfing Policies. If you feel another person is violating this policy, use the Flagging or Report tools available next to posts and Events. You can also contact our Trust and Safety Team.

Reference Policy

The referencing system allows members to share information about their interactions with other members, enabling the community to make more informed decisions.

Couchsurfers who have hosted or stayed with other members are permitted to submit private feedback (to Couchsurfing) and public references for 14 days after a stay. Members must have a couch request with the “Yes” “Maybe” or “Confirmed” status in order to leave a Surf/Host reference. Other members may create references under the “Other” or “Friend” reference designations (as opposed to “Surf” or “Host”).

References should be accurate and relevant to the experience with the recipient. Any activities that undermine the integrity of the Reference System are a violation of Couchsurfing’s policies and Terms of Use.

Couchsurfing does not generally interfere with reference content left by members. In extremely rare circumstances, Couchsurfing may censor, temporarily hide, or remove reference content if it violates our Reference Guidelines.

A reference may be censored, temporarily hidden, or removed in the following cases:

1. Order To Remove: We are served with a court or law enforcement order to remove the reference

2. Not The Author: The reference entirely reflects the experience of someone other than the author

3. False Reference: The reference is false, in a meaningful way, according to information in the Couchsurfing system

Note: When contacting the Trust and Safety Team, the reporter should provide the false statement, and details of the exact location of the evidence within the Couchsurfing website.

4. Anonymous: The reference is anonymous

Note: For example, left from a blank profile that was created only in order to leave the reference.

5. No Contact: There has been no direct interaction, either offline or over the Couchsurfing system, between the person writing the reference and the person receiving it

6. Multiple References: There are multiple references for the same confirmed visit from the same member. In this case, we will retain the first “Host/Surf” reference left.

7. Private Information: The reference discloses private contact information, medical condition, or legal circumstance

If you’ve received a reference that falls under the above cases, please contact the Trust and Safety Team. Please include a link to your profile, the name of the member whose reference you are disputing, and the exact guideline(s) you believe this reference violates.

Couchsurfing is generally unable to verify the accuracy of references describing offline interactions, and only act when a violation of this policy has occurred.

Couchsurfing members can only report references left on their own profile.

Note: Additionally, Couchsurfing staff reserves the right to remove any reference that undermines the integrity of the Reference System.