Facebook and Instagram briefly block hashtags about Ukrainian civilian killings

Ukraine War: Russia has denied any charges related to the killing of civilians. (File)

Facebook owner Meta Platforms briefly restricted hashtags linked to civilian deaths in northern Ukraine, where bodies of people shot at point-blank range were found in a town recaptured from Russian forces, an official confirmed on Monday. company spokesperson.

The Bucha killings outside kyiv have prompted new promises of sanctions against Moscow from the West.

Meta spokesman Andy Stone said automated systems that search for violent images on Facebook and Instagram, which the company also owns, were responsible for blocking hashtags including #bucha and #buchamassacre.

“This happened automatically because of the graphic content people posted using these hashtags. When we were made aware of the issue yesterday, we acted quickly to unblock the hashtags,” he wrote on Twitter.

Facebook and Instagram allow graphic and violent content to be posted when shared to raise awareness of possible human rights abuses, but remove content if it is extremely explicit or celebrates suffering.

The social media company is also adding warning labels to some graphic posts that users must click on before they can see the images.

Human rights groups have criticized Meta’s approach to removing violent content during conflict, saying its practice of purging data from its servers after 90 days results in the deletion of key evidence of crimes of war.

Stone said Meta is “exploring ways to preserve this and other types of content when we take it down,” particularly as it relates to the war in Ukraine.

Russia has denied any charges related to the killing of civilians.

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