Samsung Sues Korean Newspaper Over False Claims

Samsung, the Android phone giant, is suing Korean newspaper ETNews for falsely publishing incorrect information related to the upcoming Galaxy S5 smartphone.  According to the news article, Samsung was apparently having trouble with the manufacture of cameras for the S5.  This would mean a push back on the April 11 launch date for the phone (a big prompt for investors to get angry).  This prompted a response from Samsung for the news corporation to retract the statement, which it refused.

Samsung is now suing for $284,000 USD (or 300 million KRW) from the newspaper.  Of course, as pointed out by BGR, we don’t know a lot of details since the site’s translation is horrible.  It released a statement to internet news site TechCrunch to clarify it’s actions related to this case:

“Samsung Electronics sought a correction from ET News following the publication of false claims that can hugely damage our business and brand value. In the interests of providing consumers with accurate information, we made a number of requests for the information to be corrected. Unfortunately this was ignored and we are now taking legal action as a last resort.”

While Samsung’s position on this is understandable, especially on the heels of investor outrage over the low sales figures of the Galaxy S4.  Apple Insider has pointed out that similar happenings have gone on at the launch of every major Apple phone and the company has yet to sue any news outlet for incorrect information.

5 Responses to Samsung Sues Korean Newspaper Over False Claims

  1. I personally feel that Samsung was acting rationally when it decided to pursue legal action against the ET News network. In terms of a lack of professionalism, falsifying information in order to provide a stream of publicity is a fairly unethical way to go about this. The act utilitarian outcomes of such an action can be seen as largely negative if the news continues to remain on a public domain like a news network. The overall happiness of Samsung will inevitably go down along with the happiness of its investors considering the potentially damaging loss in profits. This will ultimately result in the overall increase in the happiness of the competitor companies if we consider the whole network of phone producing companies. Any attempt to publically defame a major company can have severe consequences for the corporation.
    This Samsung case is amongst many other defamation lawsuits. A good example would be when Tesla Motors, a high end electric car company, sued the very highly regarded British motoring show, Top Gear over comments made by its presenter who Tesla claim was completely falsifying information without any proper justification as to why the car was failing to perform up to expectations. The company viewed this as major defamation of their brand and its value and considering the widespread popularity of the show, it was imperative that Tesla pursued legal action against the TV show in order to prevent damaging its reputation. Ultimately, Tesla never won the lawsuit and the episode continued to air showing the presenter criticizing the car about its poor range and brakes. As mentioned before, defamation can be incredibly harmful to the success of a company and can completely tarnish its reputation especially when the claims appear to be false as per the case with Samsung.

  2. This action by Samsung is quite understandable, given the speed at which information like this can propagate and spread to other news outlets. I think that a lawsuit like this is the morally right thing to do from Samsung, if we evaluate this situation using moral rights theory it’s pretty clear why. Samsung itself is not a person – as much as corporations are seen as people politically, it doesn’t make sense to look at them as people from an ethical standpoint. Rather, we can look at the individual employees, shareholders, and operators of Samsung. All of these parties have a right to benefit from the work they do, given their right to life and property. It can be argued, then, by publishing this false information, the news outlet was infringing upon the rights of the Samsung parties. From a utilitarian viewpoint, we can evaluate the situation quite easily. If we look at the two possibilities, publish the false information, or don’t – not publishing the information is the obvious choice to make. Publishing the information led to less happiness for all the mentioned parties involved with Samsung, whereas the publisher of the information likely gained a small amount of happiness from the page views generated by the article. If the information was not published, there would be no change in happiness, which would be better than the amount of happiness gained by the news site minus the amount of happiness lost by Samsung.

  3. I think it is entirely fair for Samsung to do this. If what the news source said is indeed false (an important if) then Samsung should have every right to protect their company and product name. Samsung is making the smart decision by using the legal system to protect themselves (this is the reason the system itself is in place). I can’t say for sure or provide any proof of this, but I feel as though many online news stations like to sensationalize or even make up facts to appeal to more readers. The release of the S5 is the biggest thing happening in the phone market right now, and its not surprising that it generates a lot news. Its entirely likely that some smaller online news source would publish some sort of “You’ll never believe what Samsung did” type of clickbait article.

    On top of this, I feel as though the criticism from AppleInsider is uncalled for. I feel as though its really just some sort of attack on the character of Samsung as a company. It makes a direct comparison to Apple, making the implication that Apple is “better” than them by not stooping to that level. I find this kind of statement really ignorant/biased. It ignores all of the “underhanded” things that Apple does all the time in the phone market, like patenting “features” that have been also used in Android phones for quite some time. As a recent example, Apple is trying to patent the gesture unlock screen that Android has been using for years.

    The point I am trying to make here is that attacking the “morals” of a rival company is worthless. Whether Apple tries to patent others inventions or Samsung goes around suing every small news source that reports on them, there is no statement being made about the quality of the consumer product.

  4. I think as well that this is completely okay for Samsung to sue the newspaper. Maybe lots of people actually read that newspaper, and they might even trust its opinion. Looking at the market and what is coming out. S5is going to be the next big thing, it is going to be IPhone 5s’s biggest rival. Its projected to hull in Samsung a bunch of money.

    With all these falsified information I feel like it would definitely hurt Samsung’s sales. This would in return be a valid chance to sue for monetary loss. As seen in the article link the S5 has a lot of features that the magazine either omitted or minimized.

    Samsung might even be able to sue for collusion and look into if other companies paid them publish this article. This is mainly speculation though, I highly doubt something like this happened.

  5. I believe that these companies should have the opportunity to sue newspaper companies for spreading false information. Of course anyone will try to argue the concept of freedom of speech but many people read the newspaper, which could mean potential companies. This can affect the companies professionally and financially. I do not believe the newspaper companies acted ethically because their main job is to inform the public. They are not doing their job if they give the public false information and it also harms the company’s image. If the paper states that they had a recall on their phones this could cause the public not to trust their technology if they were about to release faulty technology. The same goes financially because everyone who was planning to purchase the phone as soon as it came out would delay profits. I believe that Samsung can ethically sue a newspaper company but I do not believe that Samsung can sue them for much because I doubt the damage would be that bad if the mistake is corrected. Every company’s future depends on society and any type of negative attention can affect any company in a big way. This relates to the professional and privacy sections of our class because Samsung has a right to make changes before the cell phone’s release without informing the public. Whether it is true or not the newspaper company violated their right to privacy and could have tainted their professional image. All of which are important to all companies.