Samsung fined for paying bloggers to attack rival

October 27, 2013

Samsung has been fined for secretly hiring bloggers to criticize Taipei-based rival HTC.

As the importance of online advertising grows, or at least problematizes traditional advertising avenues, some company’s are resorting to what is arguably cyber-fraud.

Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission issued Samsung a TWD $10 million ($340,720) fine last Thursday for paying bloggers and students to criticize HTC’s products and praise its own, according to AFP.

In response, a Samsung representative has announced the company is, “disappointed that the Taiwan FTC has decided that [Samsung] has violated the Fair Trade Act based on online marketing activities.”

According to ABC, Samsung paid writers to attack HTC’s signature smartphone, “One,” online. There were reportedly 4,000 examples on review sites such as Chinese message forum Mobile 01.

ABC also linked the story to more local examples of “astroturfing”, the act of hiding a message’s real author. Notably, they covered online review site Yelp’s lawsuit against San Diego legal firm McMillan Law Group for creating reviews from nonexistent clients.

Samsung’s fine is the second of its kind this year in Taiwain, following Samsung’s misleading advertising concerning the “Galaxy Y Duos’s” camera features and the FTC’s subsequent, relatively-small $10,000 fine.

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