Fair-trade officials in Taiwan investigating reports that Samsung paid people to publish fake reviews and to criticize rival HTC devices online. The claims are that Samsung hired students to post negative comments about phones made by HTC. If found guilty by the FTC of engaging in “false advertising” practices, Samsung and its local agent could face fines of up to of 25 million Taiwanese dollars ($838,195). The investigation occurred after a website, called TaiwanSamsungLeaks, accused Samsung of “evil marketing” and shows some information that shows the ‘anonymous’ Internet users might not have been anonymous after all. PC Advisor said that Samsung has confirmed that the “unfortunate incident” did occur, but we have not been able to confirm that.
As evidence, the site published documents allegedly from Samsung’s hired marketing firm cataloging the different forum posts it made last year on local gadget sites. The topics covered included a user complaining that his girlfriend’s HTC One X phone was constantly crashing, and how Samsung’s Galaxy Note phone was superior to HTC’s Sensation XL handset. Benchmark reviews were also posted, claiming that Samsung’s Galaxy S3 outperformed the HTC One X in battery life and graphics. In addition, some of the comments tried to praise Samsung, and asked if the company’s handsets had helped local users earn job promotions.