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White House in legal talks with Samsung over Obama selfie

The White House is in legal talks with Samsung after Barack Obama featured in a ‘promo’ selfie with baseball player ‘Big Papi’.

After Ellen Degeneres’ selfie at the Oscars became the most retweeted tweet ever, Samsung enjoyed lot of attention. So when the company heard that professional baseball player David Ortiz, aka ‘Big Papi’, was going to the White House to meet President Obama, it attempted to carry out its next star-studded selfie.

Samsung prepped Ortiz and the team on how to snap photos and share them. When Ortiz got a selfie with Obama on his phone, Samsung retweeted the image. But did they cross a line?

A lot of people think so. Joshua Green, writer for Business Week, accused Samsung and Ortiz of being “shady”. He wrote, “Duping the President of the United States into participating with your social media campaign has to be a new low for advertising.”

Obama’s senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer, meanwhile, said the President did not know anything about Samsung’s connection with the selfie taken by Ortiz. But he added that it becomes a concern for the White House’s counsel if someone is using the President to promote a product.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said: “As a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the President’s likeness for commercial purposes. And we certainly object in this case.”

Samsung and Ortiz are adamant that they have done nothing wrong. Ortiz insisted the selfie wasn’t promotional. He added: “I mean, who knows that you’re going to get a picture with the President, a selfie? You can’t guarantee that.”

Samsung, meanwhile, said: “[it] didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3 device.” Anyway, six days on and Samsung’s retweet of David Ortiz’s selfie has accumulated only 556 retweets and 679 favourites as of its posting last week on April 1st, so the plan appears to have fllen flat regardless of Samsung’s intentions. 

Pfeiffer concluded that the outcome of the conversation between the White House and Samsung will be left between the lawyers. But he added: “Maybe this will be the end of all selfies.”

Would you like to live in a selfie-free world? Before the front-facing camera becomes a thing of the past, check out our video for the best selfie phones.

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