Fair-trade officials in Taiwan are looking into reports that Samsung paid people to criticise rival HTC online.
Samsung is alleged to have hired students to post negative comments about phones made by Taiwan’s HTC.
Samsung, based in South Korea, said the “unfortunate incident” had gone against the company’s “fundamental principles.”
If found guilty of engaging in “false advertising,” Samsung and its local agent could face fines of up to 25 million Taiwanese dollars (£547,000).
Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission had begun an investigation after receiving a series of complaints. A local website had published documents appearing to show Samsung had been recruiting students to criticise HTC and praise Samsung anonymously on the web.
Samsung Taiwan said it had not been told about the investigation, however the subsidiary put a statement on its local Facebook page saying it had “ceased all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments.”
It said all future marketing work would be more in line with its company philosophy of transparency and honesty.