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Taiwan fines Samsung for astroturfing internet comments on its smartphones

Jon Fingas , @jonfingas

Astroturfing (false grassroots) campaigns are usually reserved for promoting unpopular causes, but Samsung apparently disagrees. Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission has just fined the company NT$10 million ($340,333) for marketing its already successful smartphone line through fake internet comments. Samsung allegedly asked third-party contractor Peng Thai to write forum posts that praised devices, trashed competitors and downplayed bad news. The fine is almost trivial for a tech giant that makes billions of dollars in profit per quarter, but it may discourage others who would try similar dirty tricks -- besides, there are plenty of fans who would boost a product for free.

[Image credit: Jussi Mononen, Flickr]