TAIPEI, Taiwan, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Taiwan has levied fines against South Korean smartphone maker Samsung for defaming the products of rival HTC in fake online reviews.
Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission said Thursday it was punishing Samsung with a $341,037 fine for fabricating Internet forum posts that praised the company at the expense of rivals including its home-country handset competitor HTC, PC World reported.
The posts on Taiwanese gadget forums included spurious complaints about HTC's flagship One phone and benchmarks favorably comparing Samsung handsets to those from HTC.
Taiwan's FTC said its investigation found Samsung hired a marketing firm to make forum posts promoting its products, ""sterilizing" negative information on Samsung products while highlighting supposed shortcomings of competing devices.
The FTC ruled the fabricated posts could have deceived consumers and affected their buying habits, while rival companies would have no way of knowing the forum posts were marketing activities rather than legitimate posts.
Samsung responded by saying it was "disappointed" in the commission's decision.
"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," the company said in an email, without disclosing whether it would pay the fine.