Gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte has said in recent campaign speeches that Facebook passed over Montana as a location for a data center mainly because of the state's business equipment tax.

But a spokesman for the Internet giant said Thursday the Bozeman Republican never spoke with Facebook officials.

In a news conference this week announcing his tax-relief proposal, Gianforte said he had talked with the company about building a data center in Montana. Gianforte asserted that the "biggest barrier" for Facebook was the business equipment tax.

Gianforte's plan includes scrapping the tax.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone says no discussions with Gianforte took place and the tax was not the reason the company isn't locating in Montana.

Gianforte stands by his comments, adding that he spoke with a Facebook executive last fall.