Taiwanese authorities say they have launched an investigation into allegations South Korean technology giant Samsung hired students to post malicious comments online about Taiwanese rival HTC.
"The case was set up last week after we received complaints," said Fair Trade Commission spokesman Sun Lih-chyun.
He said the probe would look into allegations that Samsung engaged in false advertising and that if the allegations were upheld, Samsung and its local advertising agent could face a fine of up to $Tw25 million ($809,000).
Complaints emerged this month, with internet users alleging that Samsung, through its local agent, had hired students to write online articles attacking HTC and recommending Samsung phones, the United Evening News said.
When asked about the allegations, an official at Samsung Taiwan said the company had not been informed of the investigation by the Fair Trade Commission.
But in a statement on its Facebook page, Samsung Taiwan said it regretted "any inconvenience and confusion from the internet event".
"Samsung Taiwan has halted all internet marketing such as posting articles on websites," it said.
Samsung was fined $Tw300,000 ($9700) by the commission earlier this year for a misleading advertisement about the camera functions on Samsung's Galaxy Y Duos GT-S6102, according to Taiwan's state Central News Agency.