Taiwan fines Samsung for astroturfing internet comments on its smartphones

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]