Meta Platforms, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, has temporarily blocked hashtags posting civilian killings in Bucha. As the company’s speaker Andy Stone explained, this was done by an automatic system that scanned photos for scenes of violence on both social networks. It was also responsible for blocking the hashtags #bucha, #buchamassacre and more.
“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,” the Meta speaker said on Twitter.
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.
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) April 4, 2022
Facebook and Instagram allow the publication of violent content if it helps to report human rights abuse. However, it can be removed if the scenes are too explicit or glorify suffering. Social networks also add warnings that users can click on before seeing photos.
Human rights activists have criticized Meta for removing violent content during Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine. According to them, this leads to the removal of important evidence of war crimes, as data is erased from servers in 90 days.
In response to criticism, the company said that Meta “is looking for ways to preserve this and other types of content if it is removed.” This is especially true in cases involving the war in Ukraine. The hashtags are currently unlocked.