Photos are important for logistics and safety; You need to know what the person you’re meeting/hosting/surfing with looks like so you can identify the person at your designated meeting point.
But, if photos (including your profile photo) were hidden until a hosting/surfing request is approved, or until you add a person as a friend and exchange messages with them, wouldn’t that help eliminate (or at least reduce) the chance of someone being able to use the platform for dating or other nefarious purposes?
I think it could work like this: You could hide all photos on a person’s profile (including their profile picture) until you have messaged the person and they have (in some way) agreed to share their photos with you (for example by clicking “accept” on a couch request or meetup request). I think it also makes sense to allow friends you’ve added to see your photos.
But perhaps photos should only be visible to friends you’ve added after you and your friend have both exchanged messages at least once on the platform. This might be silly for people who have already met, but it would be better than just showing photos automatically after someone approves a friend request. If we were to just show photos after a person approves a friend request, that would just encourage people to add strangers as friends just so they can see their photos – which is a behavior we would want to prevent.
What do you think about these ideas?