Samsung fined $340,000 for online smear campaign and fraudulent reviews

By on October 24, 2013, 10:51 AM
samsung, ftc, samsung 830 series, fair trade commission, astroturfing, smear campaign

Back in April Samsung was put under investigation for alleged fraudulent online comments and negative assertions about its competitors. The Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission since found Samsung to be guilty of generating fake online comments through a large network of paid writers and even certain employees.

Taiwan's FTC stated that the fraudulent online presence, a practice generally referred to as "astroturfing," was done through outside marketing firms. This is something Samsung has admitted to in the past, according to previous reports. Samsung has now been fined over $340,000 for its involvement, and two local third party marketing firms have also been slapped with fines combining to more than $100,000.

Originally reports of Samsung's underhanded activity came along which accusations that the company was targeting HTC in Korea. But the FTC's report simply says that Samsung paid individuals to conduct smear campaigns against competing devices, highlighting the negative aspects of them, and does not mention any of the companies Samsung went after specifically. The FTC also claims that Samsung engaged in "disinfection" of negative reviews and comments, fraudulent "evaluation" of its products and deceptive, "palindromic" marketing campaigns.

While Samsung is certainly not the only major company involved in this kind of activity, it does seem to be the one getting caught the most recently. Earlier this year the company was fined $300,000 for a fraudulent marketing campaign for its Galaxy Y Duos GT-S6102.

User Comments: 9

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wastedkill said:

Oh jesus $300k thats sure to put a dent in their $270billion revenue... NOT! lol seriously why give them fines that small its literally nothing to them heck even 1million is nothing to them make the fine worth a look from samsung or nothing will change!

I do love samsung but giving fines that are less than 1% of their actual income is beyond stupid they wont even hear that money disappear from their wallets! its like dropping a coin on the other side of the universe you wont hear it!

1 person liked this | tomkaten tomkaten said:

There, that's gonna hurt them. /sarcasm

They probably took a calculated risk and found it was worth it

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Samsung invested something on the order of 8.6 billion, (with a "B"), in research and development alone last year. I hope the loss of .0003 of a billion doesn't set them back to the point of losing market share through lack of innovation.

1 person liked this | Seventh Reign Seventh Reign said:

I wonder if Microsoft has ever been fined like this. They ARE the world leader in Defamation .. thats with an M not a C .. tho both are accurate I suppose.

Guest said:

Oh, there is already a general term for Internet public opinion manipulation, is there? Somehow I've never heard it before, maybe I'm not general enough. Astroburfing you say? My. Probably invented by influential bloggers, they are the unanimous representers of humanity these days, and authors of all "general terms", like "staycation", or "phablet". But in any case, just like those patent lawsuits and anti-monopoly fines, it's all a plot against Samsung's Innovation. Everybody knows that Innovation is impossible without plagiarism, bribery, fraud, blackmail, tax evasion, money laundering, brain washing, outsourced child labour and other business advancements that old-fashioned bigots are calling "illegal" or even worse, "immoral". Of course, all companies are doing it! Of course. it's just the poor Samsung, the scapegoat, was the one unfortunate who got caught! It's just like in private world, there are no decent people, everybody is a criminal, prisons are only holding those who were caught, and the uncaught ones are walking free amongst us - for the time being. No one is spotless, no one is innocent. Jesus was a criminal, too, otherwise he wouldn't end up on a cross, would he? But fellow consumers, what is immoral, today, especially when billions are at stake? The world is a whorehouse where everybody has a price tag. So let's give our sympathy to the poor crucified Samsung and boycott everybody else, who is as guilty, or even more guilty - because they are so wicked and evil, that they haven't even got caught yet.

Ambrose said:

I hardly see any good post about Samsung phones on this site. You're one of the numerous sites trying to defame Samsung and promote those American garbage.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I hardly see any good post about Samsung phones on this site. You're one of the numerous sites trying to defame Samsung and promote those American garbage.
Yeah well great. Now that you've pointed that out, we're all going to cut that out and blow nothing but sunshine Samsung's way......(wait for it)....or NOT!

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Samsung are a bunch of clods, they get caught out. If they want proper schooling on how to be deceitful & look squeaky clean, they should look no further than Apple.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Oh jesus $300k thats sure to put a dent in their $270billion revenue...
Thats not the point. The point is where the $300k is going. Someone made easy cash without getting greedy, because they know they will have the same opportunity to do it again next year. It is a handshake agreement to give the masses a false illusion, that something is being done about it.

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