Report: Facebook censor rules protect white men from hate speech, but not 'subsets' like black children

A new ProPublica report featuring internal Facebook documents reveals how the company's censorship policies break down the difference between hate speech and political expression.

According to the report, Facebook "content reviewers" are trained to remove any posts including hate speech attacking "protected categories," but should allow any attacks targetted at "subsets" -- like "black children" or "female drivers."

ProPublica cites two examples of posts targeting "protected categories" and "subsets" in their piece.

In the wake of the London terror attack earlier in June, Republican Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana called for the killing of "radicalized" Muslims.

"Every conceivable measure should be engaged to hunt them down," Higgins stated in a Facebook post. "Hunt them, identify them, and kill them. Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all."

Inversely, ProPubilca cites Black Lives Matter activist DiDi Delgado who at one point posted, "All white people are racist. Start from this reference point, or you've already failed." Delgado's post was removed and her account was disabled for seven days.

According to Facebook's censorship guidelines, Higgins' call to "kill them all" was allowed because it was targeting a "subset" demographic -- that is, "radicalized Muslims." Because Delgado's language included the stance that "all white people are racist," her post was considered an attack on a "protected" group.

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Facebook over the years
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Facebook over the years

The original Facebook homepage from 2004 with a small picture of Al Pacino in the top left corner.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

Mark Zuckerberg originally described himself as not only the founder of Facebook, but also as the "Master and Commander" and "Enemy of the State."

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Here's what a Facebook group page looked like in 2005.

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For comparison, this is what a Facebook group page looks like today.

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The Facebook homepage in 2005 also listed all of the schools the social network was in -- and still included the photo of Al Pacino.

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The company decided to drop the "the" from its name in 2005, after it bought the domain Facebook.com for $200,000.

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We love this gem about "poking" from one of the original FAQ pages.

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Facebook's homepage in 2006 was a stripped-back affair, doing away with the list of schools in favor of a simple login option.

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Mark Zuckerberg's profile in 2006.

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Facebook launched the News Feed to display all your friends' activity in a single timeline in 2006.

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At the same time, Facebook introduced the Mini-Feed. But the entire concept of a News Feed resulted in some very public outrage. Some users even went so far to call one of Facebook's product managers the devil.

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Facebook's 2007 homepage contained the first instance of its now-synonymous logo and offered the "latest news" from friends.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

The Facebook of 2008 continued to refine the homepage and offered options for signing up.

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Facebook gained the "connected world" diagram in 2009, which lasted all the way until 2011.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

In 2009, Facebook's home page also got a facelift. Posts started to stream through the News Feed in real-time.

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That same year, Facebook also introduced its algorithm for determining the order in which status updates should be displayed.

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Facebook changed its logo font in 2010 but left the homepage much the same.

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2010 was also when Facebook brought notifications to the top navigation bar following yet another redesign.

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Facebook also rolled out a new, more visual profile in 2010. It added a row of recently tagged images below your name and basic profile information.

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Facebook left the design the same in 2011, but made the input boxes used to log in clearer.

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Facebook launched the News Ticker in 2011 so users could keep up with their friends while browsing through other parts of Facebook.

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The Facebook Timeline feels like it's been around since the beginning. But it launched in 2011 to act as a virtual timeline of your entire life.

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Facebook also split its instant messaging into a different app called Messenger in 2011. It's now got more than 800 million monthly users.

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Facebook swapped out the connected world diagram for a phone in 2012 as its users moved from desktop to mobile. Today, over 800 million people access Facebook on mobile everyday.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

Facebook started flooding the News Feed with sponsored stories in January 2012.

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Facebook settled on a design in 2013 that it would stay with for the next few years.

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This is what Facebook's mobile app looked like when it first launched.

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It has since been completely redesigned.

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Facebook also owns a bunch of other popular apps, most notably Instagram, which the company bought for $1 billion in 2012. With more than 400 million monthly users, that seems like a steal nowadays.

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2015 was a big year for Facebook that saw its first ever day with one billion users online simultaneously. The company had figured out how to make money from mobile too, turning it into a $300 billion business.

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Today, more than 1.5 billion people use the social network every single month.

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And more than 1.4 billion people use it on their mobile phones every month. Not bad, considering 12 years ago smartphones didn't even exist.

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Here's the Facebook homepage today, on its 12th birthday.
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For instance, Higgins' incitement to violence passed muster because it targeted a specific sub-group of Muslims — those that are "radicalized" — while Delgado's post was deleted for attacking whites in general.

"The policies do not always lead to perfect outcomes," Facebook head of global policy management Monika Bickert told ProPublica. "That is the reality of having policies that apply to a global community where people around the world are going to have very different ideas about what is OK to share."

According to training slides reproduced by ProPublica, Facebook defines hate speech using the algorithm: "Protected category + Attack = Hate Speech." The company reportedly lists what they do not protect under these guidelines, including social class, political ideology or religion. They do, however, protect sex, religious affiliation, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender identity,

RELATED: Mark Zuckerberg through the years

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Mark Zuckerberg through the years
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Mark Zuckerberg through the years

Mark Zuckerberg creater of 'Facebook', photographed at Eliot House at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. on May 14, 2004. Facebook was created in February 2004, 3 months prior to this photograph.

(Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, participates in a discussion during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007.

(Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, attends the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference on January 27, 2009 in Munich, Germany. DLD brings together global leaders and creators from the digital world.

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images for Burda Media)

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook, speaks on day three of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, Jan. 30, 2009. This year's meeting, which is titled 'Shaping the Post-Crisis World,' runs until Feb. 1.

(Photo by Adam Berry/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., left, walks with Michael Ovitz, former president of Walt Disney Co., during a lunch break at the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Friday, July 10, 2009. The conference runs until Saturday, July 11.

(Photo by Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the opening keynote address at the f8 Developer Conference April 21, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Zuckerberg kicked off the the one day conference for developers that features breakout sessions on the future of social technologies.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg (L) receives the award of Media person of the year from Philip Thomas (R), CEO Of Cannes Lions as part of the 57th International Advertising Festival held at the Palais des festivals on June 22, 2010 in Cannes, France.

(Photo by Francois G. Durand/Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook, holds a press conference at their headquarters in Palo Alto, California, May 26, 2010. Zuckerberg outlined Facebook's new privacy control methods.

(Photo by Kim White/Getty Images)

ABC News' Diane Sawyer goes inside Facebook headquarters with the man behind it all, co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to show how the site has redefined the way a generation organizes and communicates, airing on WORLD NEWS WITH DIANE SAWYER and NIGHTLINE on July 21st as well as all ABC News platforms.

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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles before speaking at a news conference at Facebook headquarters August 18, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg announced the launch of Facebook Places, a new application that allows Facebook users to document places they have visited.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Tim Kendall, director of product marketing for Facebook Inc., from left, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., and Erick Tseng, head of mobile products for Facebook Inc., listen during a press conference at the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010. Facebook, the world's biggest social-networking site, added features to its mobile software for Android devices, making it easier for users to share their locations and sort their friends by groups.

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US President Barack Obama speaks as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (R) looks on during a town hall meeting April 20, 2011 at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

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Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., left, and Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, get ready to take questions from the audience during an event at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, U.S., on Friday, March 25, 2011. Facebook Inc., owner of the most popular social-networking site, drew investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in private stock sales that valued the company at $50 billion as of January.

(George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a town hall meeting April 20, 2011 at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook Inc., smiles during the closing session of the e-G8 Internet Forum in Paris, France, on Wednesday, May 25, 2011. The Internet needs government involvement to reach its full potential of linking people and boosting economic growth, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.

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Chief executive of French group Publicis, Maurice Levy (R) and Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg (L) attend the e-G8 press conference during the G8 Summit, on May 26, 2011 in Deauville, France. Heads of the world's wealthiest nations are meeting in Deauville, France, for the G8 summit to discuss various security, aid and trade issues, including the 'Arab Spring', nuclear safety and climate change.

(Photo by Edouard BERNAUX/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., attends the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 7, 2011. Media executives are gathering at Allen & Co.'s Sun Valley conference this week looking to shed assets such as the Hulu LLC video website and G4 game channel amid a declining global stock market and slowing economic growth.

(Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (L) watches a demonstration of the new Facebook video chat during a news conference at Facebook headquarters July 6, 2011 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg announced new features that are coming to Facebook including video chat and a group chat feature.
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Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., left, arrives to speak during a news conference at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011. Zuckerberg said Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs advised him on how to sharpen his company's focus and build the right management team for the world's largest social network.

(Kelvin Ma/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (center) watches the game action between the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks on February 19, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. 

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

A woman watches Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking in a promotional video ahead of the company's IPO, in Washington on May 8, 2012. Facebook, already assured of becoming one of the most valuable US firms when it goes public later this month, now must convince investors in the next two weeks that it is worth all the hype. Top executives at the world's leading social network have kicked off their all-important road show on Wall Street -- an intense marketing drive ahead of the company's expected trading launch on the tech-heavy Nasdaq on May 18.

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Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shake hands as they meet at the Gorki residence outside Moscow, on October 1, 2012. Zuckerberg was today in Moscow on a visit the government believes should stimulate innovation in Russia and the social network hopes will boost its position in the Russian market.

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Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., right, and Andrew 'Drew' Houston, founder and chief executive of Dropbox, sit in a parked car at the entrance to the Lodge during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 12, 2012. Media moguls gathered at the annual Allen & Co. conference have spent recent years contemplating how to cope with technology companies drawing audiences away from television and movies.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during an event at Facebook headquarters on April 4, 2013 in Menlo Park, California. Zuckerberg announced a new product for Android called Facebook Home.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the 2013 TechCrunch Disrupt conference on September 11, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The TechCruch Disrupt Conference runs through September 11.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (R) arrives at the White House for an Oval Office meeting with President Barack Obama March 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama held the meeting with Internet CEOs to discuss 'issues of privacy, technology, and intelligence.'

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Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote conference as part of the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2014 at the Fira Gran Via complex on February 24, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. The annual Mobile World Congress hosts some of the world's largest communication companies, with many unveiling their latest phones and gadgets. The show runs from February 24 - February 27.

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Breakthrough Prize Founders Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg (R) attend the Breakthrough Prize Awards Ceremony Hosted By Seth MacFarlane at NASA Ames Research Center on November 9, 2014 in Mountain View, California.
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Mark Zuckerberg (L), founder and CEO of Facebook, makes a courtesy call to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) at the latter's official residence in Tokyo on October 20, 2014. Zuckerberg is here to attend a Facebook's business event for their partner companies on October 16 as a surprise guest.

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckenberg speaks to media after the meeting with Indonesian President-elect Joko Widodo (not seen) in Jakarta, Indonesia on October 13, 2014. US-based social media Facebook founder Zuckerberg attended internet.org campaign during his visit to Indonesia, the fourth-largest number of Facebook users in the world.

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Indonesian President-elect Joko Widodo (L) with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (R) at Tanah Abang Market the biggest textile market in South East Asia after meeting on October 13, 2014 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Mark Zukerberg is visiting Indonesia to attend Internet developers summit and meet heads of goverment. Indonesia is a country that has a population of 240 million and has approximately 60 million active users of social media. 

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Facebook Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg at IIT Delhi, on October 28, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Speaking to about 900 students at Indian Institute of Technology, Zuckerberg said broadening Internet access was vital to economic development in a country where a billion people are still not online.
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Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, left, and Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., embrace at the conclusion of a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, U.S., on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Prime Minister Modi plans on connecting 600,000 villages across India using fiber optic cable as part of his 'dream' to expand the world's largest democracy's economy to $20 trillion.

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Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan sighted on February 26, 2016 in Berlin, Germany.

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Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., speaks during the Oculus Connect 3 event in San Jose, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Facebook Inc. is working on a new virtual reality product that is more advanced than its Samsung Gear VR, but doesn't require connection to a personal computer, like the Oculus Rift does.

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Actor Vin Diesel (L) and Breakthrough Prize Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg speak onstage during the 2017 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center on December 4, 2016 in Mountain View, California.

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(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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While Facebook is not required by law to censor content, the company founded in 2004 recently pledged to recommit themselves to monitoring content by doubling their "content reviewers" after a video of a murder was posted to their site.

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