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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014