Samsung has spent hundreds of millions of dollars towards its extensive advertising and marketing campaigns over the last few years, to both promote its Galaxy lineup of products and to shed the viewpoint that the company is simply an Apple copycat.
The South Korean consumer electronics maker might have gone one step too far in Taiwan, however, where it has been accused of hiring students to post articles online that slander Taiwanese competitor HTC while simultaneously promoting Samsung mobile phones.
Samsung has admitted at least partial fault, but has not outlined any specific allegations that it violated. In a statement issued to the media, the company merely claims that the situation “occurred due to insufficient understanding of these fundamental [marketing] principles.”
The company could be slapped with an $835,000 fine if it is found guilty of these allegations, which the Fair Trade Commission is currently investigating. In the meantime, Samsung Taiwan has halted all online marketing, including the posting of articles on websites.
The full-text of the Samsung media statement:
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.