Update Jul 2020: added privacy request forms to delete your data.
If you are unaware, Couchsurfing has recently taken your account as hostage and demanded users to pay a fee to access your personal account. This means to even access your account to delete it, you need to pay. A paywall is the front page of Couchsurfing. You cannot get access unless you pay. This motivated a #DeleteCouchsurfing movement.
This is a disheartening situation. I, for one, am very supportive of CS. I even wrote a little post on how to couchsurf for your trip. I’ve also made some amazing friends on CS. It is truly sad that my messages are gone and I am unable to contact them anymore.
I’m not going into the politics of investment mismanagement, poor leadership of Patrick Dugan or how the community has gone downhill (e.g. all the pervy guys). Instead, let’s focus on solutions. Rational reasons of why you should delete your account, how to do that and other alternatives.
Why Delete Couchsurfing
They are taking our data as hostage. In the world today, it’s not just physical hostage situation, but digital information being a hostage. The only way to get your data (personal information, messages, contact details of friends) is to 1) pay for the subscription and 2) hope your friends also pay for the subscription.
Couchsurfing is using the global pandemic to distract us from the real issue of company mismanagement. The community has constantly asked for change, better security for travellers and just for the company to hear our voices. But did they listen? NooOOOooOOooo. However, they only spoke to the community when they needed money.
Red flag alert: if you have a friend that only reaches out when they need your help, that is a bad friend. Delete that friend. This is similar to couchsurfing. They only reached out to the community when they needed help. Other times, they ignored the pleas of the community.
The right way would be for CS to give members access to the account for a week or two, so people can tie up lose ends. And not spring up a “everything is behind paywall now. Pay up or no access. Lol #pandemic #help #sTrUgGLinGsTaRTuP”.
But do they do the right thing? No. Why? Because they do not care about the community. Otherwise they would have listened in the first place. They do not care about the community, about your friendships, about your memories. They do not care, perhaps they never did.
How to Delete Couchsurfing
So what’s next? Delete your account.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- It also works best if you are in Europe with GDPR mandating they they must delete. I’m not sure what the other countries will look like.
- They will email you a zip of your data (if you are in the EU) and tell you that they will delete your account for you.
(I’m not sure if they will really do that, since you can never verify. Everything is behind paywall.)
What you cannot retrieve anymore
Unfortunately, you cannot access everything. Sure, you can get YOUR account details, YOUR messages, YOUR pictures. But not the details of your friends that you are chatting with, the conversation history of the person you are chatting with, your friends contact list, etc.
You can request
- Your data and get it within 30 days
- Deletion of your account
- Change in couch status
- Change in your address
- Request a return of verification fees
- Request friends’ details (eg name, email)
Here are samples for you to request that Couchsurfing deletes your information.
Alternative: Access Couchsurfing for free
Some countries are currently free to continue membership. You can access that via a VPN to change your geographical location.
Free countries (and growing): (See list here)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Sri Lanka
What else you can do
- Write your reviews about CS on the various review sites:
- Move on to a new site: BeWelcome, Couchers.org, check out Facebook groups
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.