Did Huawei encourage fake reviews? Firm cites confusion over social media post

Huawei allegedly bribed fans with the chance to beta test its Mate 10 Pro smartphone if they wrote a glowing review on a retailer’s pre-sale page.

Reports have unearthed a now-deleted social media post, aimed at recruiting beta testers. Fans were asked to compete by writing about why they’d like to own the Mate 10 Pro and posting it on Best Buy’s site.

“Tell us why you want to own the Mate 10 Pro in the review section of our Best Buy retail page,” the post read. Users were asked to share the URL to the entry in the Facebook comments.

Related: Huawei Mate 10 Pro review

Despite not being on sale in the United States yet, the Best Buy page was soon flooded with positive reviews from consumers yet to get their hands on the handset.

TechSpot cites reviews calling it the “unbeatable smart phone of the year,” which “puts Samsung to shame.”

Huawei

The plea for Best Buy posts was made on February 31, but it wasn’t until February 9 that the nine winners of the beta testing program were announced.

In a statement given to Trusted Reviews, Huawei said the reports are a result of “confusion” over the social media post. It said it is working with the entrants in order to remove the ‘reviews’ where it isn’t disclosed the authors were beta testers.

The firm hasn’t addressed the posts made by those who were chasing the carrot of becoming a beta tester by posting specifically in the customer review section on Best Buy’s site.

The statement is as follows: “Huawei’s first priority is always the consumer and we encourage our customers to share their experiences with our devices in their own voice and through authentic conversation. We believe there is confusion around a recent social media post reaching out to recruit new beta testers. While there are reviews from beta testers with extensive knowledge of the product, they were in no way given monetary benefits for providing their honest opinions of the product. However, we are working to remove posts by beta testers where it isn’t disclosed they participated in the review program.”

Huawei is enduring a rough time of it as it attempts to crack the US market. Both AT&T and Verizon have walked away from accords to carry the Chinese firm’s phones, reportedly as a result of political pressure in the US.

Given the company’s sales will have to come through outright purchases from retailers, it may have felt more pressure to push the Mate 10 Pro before release.

Do you think Huawei’s tactics could mislead shoppers in the US? Or were its intentions noble? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.