KOREAN PHONE MAKER Samsung has been fined $340,000 for faking online comments bashing Taiwanese rival HTC.
Samsung's fake hate campaign against HTC was first unearthed in April, when it was revealed that the Galaxy S4 maker had paid students to post malicious comments online about its rival phone maker.
Following that revelation the Taiwanese Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it would investigate the allegations against Samsung, and today it announced the outcome of the probe.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it looks like Samsung's plan backfired. The FTC announced on Thursday that it will fine the firm $340,000, having found that Samsung used a "large number of hired writers and designated employees" to post abuse about HTC in Taiwanese online forums.
The Taiwan FTC found that Samsung worked with two marketing firms to carry out the campaign, which combined were fined over $100,000.
Samsung understandably isn't pleased about having been caught. A spokesperson for the firm told The INQUIRER, "We are disappointed that the Taiwan FTC has decided that we have violated the Fair Trade Act based on online marketing activities. However, we remain committed to engaging in transparent and honest communication with consumers.
"Samsung Electronics Taiwan is carefully reviewing the decision and will take all necessary steps to protect our reputation as a company which values its customers. Samsung Electronics Taiwan will continue to provide exceptional value for consumers in Taiwan through a wide variety of innovative products and services."
However, it could have been worse for the Korean company, as it was thought that Samsung could have been fined up to $835,000.
HTC has yet to respond to our request for comment. µ