I wrote about the overwhelming response to unverified stories of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 combusting or exploding by the media in an editorial for AndroidGuys.com. I still use my Note 7 everyday without incident, and have no fears it will explode on me. I believe Samsung pulled the Note 7 off the market because it couldn’t control the unrelenting stories about the Note 7 catching fire in the press. It did what it could to appease customers – it issued a voluntary recall for the first batch of Note 7 smartphones, followed up by an official recall partnered with the CSPC. Samsung then issued an official apology from the COO as well running a full story in the Wall Street Journal to put an end to the saga.
After the first official recall, Samsung released a fresh batch of Note 7 smartphones, and within days there were numerous reports of the replacements catching fire too. While media outlets around the world grabbed onto the news, almost none of them took the time to verify the facts before releasing stories. In the end this resulted in a total recall of all Note 7s. Once the official recall was in place, stories of the Note 7 catching fire came to an end. However media outlets then started to report on stories of the Galaxy S7 catching on fire, even though it had been on the shelves for seven months prior to the Note 7 issues.
I recommended that Samsung take control of its destiny and present facts to its users. That’s what it is finally doing. On November 18th, Samsung quietly issued a statement:
Samsung stands behind the quality and safety of the Galaxy S7 family. There have been no confirmed cases of internal battery failures with these devices among the more than 10 million devices being used by consumers in the United States; however, we have confirmed a number of instances caused by severe external damage. Until Samsung is able to obtain and examine any device, it is impossible to determine the true cause of any incident.
While media outlets have run wild with stories of the S7 and Note 7 catching fire, very few are reporting that Samsung is finally standing up for its products.
This is more evidence that media outlets need to stop delivering news without actually taking the time to verify the facts. The Note 7 probably never should have been officially recalled. While Samsung can grunt through the massive financial losses, there are also millions of others who are affected by the irresponsible behavior of the media. There are dozens of third party manufacturers who make accessories and other products that depend on the success of the Note and they had to eat the losses too.
Even though Reuters released a poll stating the Note 7 incident didn’t affect its brand, I still believe that Samsung will be well served to explain what happened and why it happened with the Note 7. If it never gets its hands on a Note 7 to inspect, then it should consider educating the press and users on the process of making its smartphones and batteries. A little education goes a long way.