Meta-owned Facebook app and Instagram on Monday unblocked hashtags for Bucha killings, outside Kyiv in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. The social media site had briefly blocked the hashtags owing to its automated system of blocking violent content.
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. "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.
The Bucha killings have drawn pledges of further sanctions against Moscow from the West. However, Russia denied to the killings and said that it was Ukrainian propaganda. New satellite images from Maxar Technologies show the bodies of dead civilians in Bucha had been laying in the street for weeks, including when the town was under Russian control. The New York Times first published the images on Monday.
A disturbing video showing the bodies in Bucha was geolocated, authenticated and reported on by CNN on Friday. It came to light the same day Ukraine declared the town liberated from Russian troops. In response to the footage of Bucha on Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed the video was "fake" and "staged." It said the video, photos, and allegations of war crimes were "another provocation." "During the time the settlement was under the control of the Russian armed forces, not a single local resident suffered from any violent actions," the ministry said.