The thing about online reviews is, they should be from real, actual customers — no matter the service or product. It’s a great way for consumers to discuss, dish, dis and otherwise express themselves, which is why Taiwanese authorities are investigating Samsung over allegations that the South Korean company recruited students to post negative comments about HTC phones on the Internet.
BBC News says Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission is looking into things after a series of complaints arose against Samsung. A local website posted documents claiming to prove that the company had paid students to criticize HTC and praise Samsung anonymously.
You know, the usual, “I hate HTC but oh my gosh, I just love Samsung!” or something along those lines. Turns out people actually notice those kinds of comments.
Officials could end up fining Samsung and its local agent up to 25 million Taiwanese dollars (about $840,000 U.S.) for false advertising if the accusations hold water.
While Samsung Taiwan claims to know nothing about the investigation, a statement on its Facebook page reportedly said it had “ceased all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments,” calling it an “unfortunate incident” that “occurred due to insufficient understanding” of the company’s philosophy of transparency and honestly.
The official statement from Samsung is a lengthy one (via CNET):
Samsung Electronics remains committed to engaging in transparent and honest communications with consumers as outlined in the company’s Online Communications Credo. We have encouraged all Samsung Electronics employees worldwide to remain faithful to our Credo. The recent incident was unfortunate, and occurred due to insufficient understanding of these fundamental principles.
Samsung Electronics Taiwan (SET) has ceased all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments, and will ensure that all SET online marketing activities will be fully compliant with the company’s Online Communications Credo.
We regret any inconvenience this incident may have caused. We will continue to reinforce education and training for our employees to prevent any future recurrence.