The founder of a sports media company told Congress at a hearing on Friday that Facebook cut traffic to his company’s page after he did an interview with President Donald Trump last summer, leading to “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in lost revenue.
Clay Travis, a radio host who runs the conservative site Outkick, also said Facebook issued his company a warning last month after it published an article summarizing a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed which said that the U.S. could reach herd immunity from the coronavirus next month.
Travis said Facebook deemed that story “misinformation.”
Travis was one of several witnesses who testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law.
Some witnesses focused on Google and other tech companies’ dominance of the internet advertising market. Others lamented the decline of local newspapers.
Travis and Glenn Greenwald, an investigative journalist, discussed Big Tech’s crackdown on various news organizations.
In his testimony, Greenwald pointed to Big Tech censorship of a New York Post story in October about Hunter Biden. Twitter banned links to the article, while Facebook restricted access to it on its platform.
Greenwald said “my journalistic interest in and concern about the dangers of Silicon Valley’s monopoly power has greatly intensified — particularly as wielded by Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.”
Travis lamented Big Tech’s power to regulate internet content.
“We would all be rightly concerned if the government of the United States was making these kinds of decisions,” Travis said.
Big tech is so powerful they colluded to ban the president of the United States from their platforms. If they can do it to the most powerful person in the world, they can do it to you. My testimony today on their power: pic.twitter.com/WTHqs68Puo
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) March 12, 2021
“My concern is all of the Big Tech companies now have the same power now that China has to regulate the internet in its country. Instead of the government doing it, we have allowed Big Tech to do it.”
Travis accused Facebook of throttling traffic to his website, cutting the reach of articles by 70 percent following an interview he conducted with Trump in August.
Trump joined Travis’ radio show to call on the NCAA to allow the college football season to continue.
“The day after that interview, Facebook tanked our traffic,” Travis said, adding that the decision “cost my company hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Travis said he believes the sudden drop in traffic was evidence that Facebook was engaged in “content-based speech discrimination.”
“Facebook didn’t like that we had the president of the United States on our program. They also didn’t like that the majority of the content of the interview was positive,” Travis said.
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) March 12, 2021
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment about Travis’ remarks.
Travis also claimed that Facebook punished his company for publishing a summary of a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed that said the U.S. would reach herd immunity by the end of April.
“Within a matter of days, we received a notification from Facebook with the downright Orwellian subject ‘misinformation violation,’” Travis said. He provided the email as an exhibit to Congress.
“Facebook told us that we were not allowed to share the opinion of a doctor on our website because they said that it was a fact-check inaccuracy.”
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