Alan Duke, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Facebook’s fact-checking partner Lead Stories, admitted he is “very comfortable” doing business with the Chinese Communist Party-linked technology firm ByteDance.
The admission came during Duke’s appearance on Steve Bannon’s War Room: Pandemic podcast, where he was questioned if he “feels comfortable being on retainer with a company that has a direct to the Chinese Communist Party and to the People’s Liberation Army and is included as part of a national asset.”
ByteDance, which is the parent company of TikTok, has seen its founder pledge to use the company to “promote socialist core values” and employs former high-level party apparatchiks with military ties as executives. Given its status as a Chinese company, ByteDance is also subject to Article Seven of the China’s National Intelligence law, which mandates that “any organization or citizen shall support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.”
Despite these ties, Lead Stories lists ByteDance as one of its “main funding sources.”
“I feel very comfortable in the relationship that we have with all of our clients and the work that we do,” Duke responds when pressed on his ByteDance ties before reiterating, “I’m very comfortable with it.”