Samsung fined for paying students to bash HTC online

Following record earnings last week, Samsung has got itself into a bit of trouble with Taiwanese officials. The local FTC in the country fined Samsung for using a “large number of hired writers and designated employees” to “highlight the shortcomings of competing products.” Whose competing products? How about competitor HTC's. 

The officials found Samsung to be using advertising firm OpenTide Taiwan to pay students and bloggers to be critical of HTC's gadgets, while praising Samsung's. Taiwanese officials gave Samsung a $340,000 fine for hiring the advertising firm, and OpenTide Taiwan was also fined just over $100,000 for its practices. 

This isn't the first time Samsung has been in trouble for shady practices. A few weeks ago the company was caught offering developers money to secretly promote Samsung in developer channels across the net. One developer was offered up to $500.

In a statement to PC Mag, Samsung Taiwan expressed its concern over the fine from officials. "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," it said.

"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."

This isn't the first time Samsung has been fined in Taiwan. Early this year, Samsung posted an advertisement that had misleading claims about the camera on the Galaxy Y Duo. The latest fine comes after Samsung came under fire last week for malfunctioning devices in China.