Understanding Astroturf Definition: How Fake Grassroots Movements Shape Public Opinion

Discover the dark side of fake grassroots movements and how they influence public opinion. Learn more about astroturfing and its deceptive tactics.


In today’s digital age, the term “astroturfing” has become increasingly common, but what exactly does it mean? Astroturfing refers to the practice of creating fake grassroots movements or campaigns that give the appearance of being organic and grassroots-driven when in reality, they are often orchestrated by powerful organizations or special interest groups.

What is Astroturfing?

Astroturfing is a deceptive tactic used to manipulate public opinion and artificially inflate support for a particular cause, product, or idea. It often involves the use of paid actors, fake personas, or automated bots to create the illusion of widespread grassroots support.

Examples of Astroturfing

  • 1. Fake online reviews for a product or service
  • 2. Paid protesters at a political rally
  • 3. Fake social media accounts promoting a particular agenda

Case Studies

One notable example of astroturfing is the case of “The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots,” which was exposed as a fake grassroots campaign backed by defense contractors with a vested interest in promoting military robotics. The campaign used social media influencers and fake testimonials to create the illusion of public support.


According to a recent study, astroturfing is on the rise, with nearly 70% of consumers reporting that they have encountered fake reviews or testimonials online. This can have serious consequences for businesses and organizations that engage in astroturfing, as it can erode trust and credibility among consumers.


Astroturfing is a powerful tool used by organizations and special interest groups to shape public opinion and influence decision-making. By understanding the definition of astroturfing and being aware of its tactics, individuals can better discern between genuine grassroots movements and orchestrated campaigns.

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