ExtremismTruNews Using Facebook to Disseminate, Amplify Anti-Semitism, Conspiracies

Published 3 August 2020

TruNews, the fundamentalist Christian video streaming site which disseminates anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and Islamophobic propaganda, also posts and livestreams extremist content on social media platforms. Rick Wiles, the site’s founder, and his fellow hosts often combine their hate speech with extreme conspiracy theories. Among the conspiracy theories: the U.S. government spread the Ebola virus on U.S. soil; the U.S. and Israel created ISIS; and that Jews were responsibility for COVID-19 nd the impeachment of President Trump.

In early 2020, ADL published a profile about TruNews and its host and founder, Rick Wiles, detailing the fundamentalist Christian video streaming site’s consistent use of anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, anti-LGBTQ+, Islamophobic rhetoric. That content remains readily available on Facebook, despite clearly violating the platform’s community standards.

While TruNews has its own website showing its news segments, the organization also posts and livestreams content on social media platforms. In February, YouTube banned TruNews from the platform, apparently for terms of service violations. This removal followed PayPal’s and donor management companies Bloomerang’s and Spreedly’s January 2020 decisions to stop processing TruNews’ donations.

Facebook, despite clear evidence of TruNews’ hate speech wrapped in conspiracy theories, continues to host the outlet’s livestreamed news segments and pre-recorded videos — along with the vitriol-filled comments – to more than 140,000 followers, without limitation.

Wiles and his fellow hosts often combine their hate speech with extreme conspiracy theories. In the past, they have alleged that the U.S. government planned to spread the Ebola virus on U.S. soil, and that the U.S. and Israel created ISIS. More recently, the videos on their Facebook page focus on a supposed Zionist plot for global takeover and Jews’ responsibility for COVID-19 (thanks to not following Jesus), as well as for the impeachment of President Trump. In a Facebook discussion, Wiles suggested, “We could sell Jew Coup t-shirts, Jew Coup hats, all that kind of stuff. We’d make a fortune.” He continued, “The reason that [the Jew Coup regalia] came to my mind is that the Lefties and the Zionists are all worked up – They want the White House to ban us forever from attending any event [as press].”

TruNews’ Facebook livestreams and videos—filled with age-old antisemitic tropes and hate speech—are often viewed tens of thousands of times, attracting hundreds of likes and comments. In a May 11, 2020 video viewed 60,200 times as of this posting, and with 1,600 shares and 2,800 comments, Wiles said, “They’re called Zionists. They’re called the synagogue of Satan. Let’s get real about what’s going on here, folks. This is a global takeover.” He claimed that the Federal reserve, IRS, and income tax were all “Zionist operations” in order to “suck money out of the American middle class.” In a July 7, 2020 Facebook livestream, Wiles’ cohost expressed concern over “the looming crisis of homosexuals, mis-gendered individuals coming in and getting a job in your organization.”