Samsung was fined a hefty amount of 10 million yuan by the Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission regarding its astroturfing activities. Samsung had posted negative and critical fake remarks about HTC via a third party. It was caught red-handed in the act and fined $340,000.
Samsung’s smear campaign against HTC’s products has backfired. After the FTC found the South Korean company guilty of astroturfing, it was heavily fined. Samsung had posted fake messages from a third party on the Internet. These messages were a form of character assassination of HTC and featured laudatory applause for Samsung.
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While other companies have been accomplices in the crime of astroturfing, as this phenomenon is called, they have seldom been caught with their pants down so to say. It was essentially a case of defamation and HTC won after it sued the company much to the dismay of Samsung.
The field of advertising contains much that is unethical. A lot of cleaning up needs to be done before the attic of advertising is free of the cobwebs of criminal activity. Samsung had used other partners in crime to mislead consumers regarding its Galaxy Y Duos GT-S6102. The specs of the device were given the media hype treatment. The fact that it didn’t cover its tracks caused a huge scandal and allegations which ended in a major lawsuit.
Meanwhile, the two companies hired by Samsung to do its dirty work were charged with NT$3 million and NT$50,000 each. Samsung will be more careful in the future. Seeing the shame and stigma attached with the blow it has suffered at the hands of international law, it has no other choice left.