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The practice of creating the appearance of grassroots support for a position, as by hiring bloggers to promote that position or establishing ostensibly independent advocacy groups.

[From AstroTurf.]


(Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a PR tactic used in politics and advertising in which actors are paid to display overt and apparently spontaneous grassroots support for a particular product, policy, or event
[C21: from Astroturf, the artificial grass, as this is artifical grassroots support]
ˈastroˌturfer n
References in periodicals archive ?
The apparent astroturfing effort has been highlighted in a number of Reddit threads where users have attempted to trace the source of the comment.
Menczer, an Occupy Wall Street enthusiast, is concerned about partisan organizations "polluting" social media and passing off their astroturfing as real grassroots activity.
In the astroturfing example, a bill that is likely to have negative effects on your industry is up for consideration at the federal level.