Facebook owner Meta Platforms briefly restricted hashtags related to civilian deaths in northern Ukraine. This is where bodies of people shot at close range were found in a town seized back from Russian forces. The killings in Bucha, outside Kyiv, have drawn pledges of further sanctions against Moscow from the West.
Meta spokesman Andy Stone said automated systems that scan for violent imagery on Facebook and Instagram, which the company also owns, were responsible for blocking hashtags including #bucha and #buchamassacre. He twitted that this happened automatically because of the graphic content people posted using these hashtags. When they were made aware of the issue, they acted quickly to unblock the hashtags.
Facebook and Instagram permit the posting of graphic and violent content. But deletes the content if it is extremely explicit or celebrates suffering. Also, warning labels to some graphic posts that users must click through before they can see the images. Human rights groups have criticized Meta’s approach to removing violent content during conflicts. Stone said Meta was exploring ways to preserve this type and other types of content when they remove it, specifically in relation to the war in Ukraine. Russia has denied any accusations related to the murder of civilians.