All the platforms identify several protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability. While Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest also name immigration status and veterans as protected categories, Twitter does not.

Facebook’s standards attempt to define hate speech as a “direct attack on people” based on protected characteristics, with “attack” meaning “violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.” YouTube and Twitter do not get into definitions but go into substantive detail about the types of attacking activity that is violative of their policies, with examples. Pinterest has just a one-paragraph policy that names the protected groups and simply outlaws attacks. As of June 5, in a major revision, YouTube outlaws content that promotes discrimination. Despite Facebook outlining three tiers of severity for its hate speech violations, the word discrimination does not show up in its standards. Twitter and Pinterest do not bring up discrimination, either.