Fair trade officials in Taiwan are investigating claims that Samsung have paid people to criticize rival HTC, online.
According to reports, Samsung are said to have paid students to post negative comments about phones made by HTC. This wouldn’t be the first time that well known companies have employed this tactic on forums and social networks, but it is embarrassing for Samsung to be seen as involved.
Samsung issued a statement saying the ‘unfortunate incident’ had gone against the ‘fundamental principles’ of the company.
If they are found guilty of paying people to negatively write about HTC online they could face a fine of 25m Taiwanese dollars, or £547,000. A hefty fine indeed.
Paying students to blog negatively about ‘competitors’ is a well known tactic online.
A spokemans told the AFP news agency that Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission had begun an investigation after receiving a series of complaints.
PC Advisor reported that a local website had published documents appearing to show Samsung had been recruiting students to attack HTC and praise Samsung ‘anonymously’. They obviously hoped the subliminal messages would persuade readers to purchase Samsung hardware.
Samsung Taiwan have said that they were not told about the investigation however a subsidiary put a statement on their Facebook page saying they had “ceased all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments”.
Kitguru says: If it is found out that Samsung have been paying students, it will be both embarrassing and costly for the company.