Back in April, Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission announced that it would begin to investigate the allegations that Samsung was hiring a large number of people to both pose as Samsung supporters on online forums and to bad mouth competing companies. Now the FTC has found these allegations to be true, and it has given both Samsung and two supporting companies some modest sized fines as punishment.
While Samsung admitted back in April that it had been paying online users to criticize competitor HTC on Taiwanese forums, the company tried to label it as a past event that was the result of some rogue employees. “The recent incident was unfortunate, and occurred due to insufficient understanding of these fundamental principles,” the company said. Now, however, the FTC has found Samsung guilty of these charges, and as a result has chosen to fine the company $340,000.
The FTC did find that it wasn’t Samsung employees themselves that were posting the comments, but rather the employees of at least two local marketing firms that Samsung had hired. Both of these firms have also been given a combined $100,000 in fines.
While Samsung’s not the only company guilty of this practice, this serves as a reminder that you should be even more hesitant to trust people’s comments online. (And you should already be pretty hesitant) That Apple-hating commenter you see might just be working for Samsung.