South Korean smartphone giant Samsung paid people to pretend to be its fans at a press conference for its products’ release on Friday, reports Shanghai-based news outlet the Paper.
A person specializing in recruiting these “fans” said he brought over 100 people to the event. They and the other groups of people brought by other recruiters reached 400 to 500 in total. These hired “fans” amounted to around half of the 1,000 people at the event, according to the Paper.
The smartphone brand has also hired several groups of 20 to 30 people to be its professional fans. A woman surnamed Huang who joined one of the groups said she applied for the job after seeing a recruitment ad in a group chat on popular messaging app WeChat. Every hired person is required to post their picture, register their name and phone number and like the fan page of Samsung Galaxy on Baidu’s online forum Baidu Tieba. A Samsung staff member who also joined the group chat checks and monitors the application process.
I struggle to understand how Samsung thinks on issues like this. Surely they must realize that this sort of thing will make its way into the news cycle. The benefit of artificially inflated attendance at a news conference can’t possibly be worth the bad press when they get caught.