Samsung is being investigated in Taiwan by the Fair Trade Commission over accusations that the South Korean company paid people to write negative reviews of the HTC One online.
According to AFP, Samsung has been hiring Taiwanese students to post negative comments about the HTC One online and also getting them to promote the Samsung Galaxy S4 and other Samsung products simultaneously.
The South Korean electronics manufacturer could face penalties for false advertising as well as a fine of up to Tw$25 million (£546,650).
Samsung Taiwan has said the Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission had not yet informed it of the investigation, but added a statement to its Facebook page expressing regret for “any inconvenience and confusion from the Internet event.”
“Samsung Electronics remains committed to engaging in transparent and honest communications with consumers as outlined in the company’s Online Communications Credo,” said Samsung’s official statement. “We have encouraged all Samsung Electronics employees worldwide to remain faithful to our Credo. The recent incident was unfortunate, and occurred due to insufficient understanding of these fundamental principles.”
The accusations began after a local Taiwanese publication suggested the company had hired students to criticise the HTC One and promote Samsung products. However, if the Samsung statement is read correctly, there could potentially be some truth in the allegations.
“Samsung Electronics Taiwan (SET) has ceased all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments, and will ensure that all SET online marketing activities will be fully compliant with the company’s Online Communications Credo.”
“We regret any inconvenience this incident may have caused. We will continue to reinforce education and training for our employees to prevent any future recurrence.”
It seems a little unnecessary for Samsung to employ such underhand tactics if the allegations are proved true, especially seeing as the South Korean company is already the dominant smartphone manufacturer worldwide, having overtaken Apple at the beginning of this year.