The smartphone mudslinging is worse than a dirty political campaign. The latest proof is the Taiwanese investigation into Samsung over reports that the manufacturer paid people to criticize HTC. The Korea-based smartphone maker reportedly paid students to post comments bad-mouthing HTC’s products. On Tuesday, Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission said Samsung could face up to $835,000 (NT$25 million) in charges if found guilty after the investigation.
TaiwanSamsungLeaks.org accused the Galaxy smartphone and tablet creator of engaging in this illegitimate marketing strategy, posting examples of the allegedly fake reviews as proof. The forum posts, according to PC Advisor, consisted of users complaining that HTC’s One X phone was constantly crashing and praising Samsung’s Galaxy Note “phablet” for being superior to HTC’s Sensation XL handset.
Some users also posted benchmark reviews alleging that Samsung’s Galaxy S3 outperformed the HTC One X in terms of battery life and graphics.
“Samsung Electronics Taiwan (SET) has ceased all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments,” the company said on Tuesday in a statement on its Taiwanese Facebook page. It continued to say that future marketing techniques will be more in line with Samsung’s philosophy of “transparency and honesty.”
“The recent incident was unfortunate, and occurred due to insufficient understanding of these fundamental principles,” Samsung wrote.
This isn’t the first time Samsung has been under fire for unfair or inaccurate advertising recently. Earlier this year, the company was fined by Taiwanese authorities for an advertisement that mislead consumers about the Galaxy Y Duo’s camera. Additionally, Samsung is the midst of an investigation involving the potential theft of display-making technology from LG.