Astroturf Slang: The Rise of Fake Grassroots Movements

Discover the deceptive world of astroturf slang and how it is used to manipulate public opinion. Learn about examples, case studies, and statistics on this unethical practice.


Astroturf slang refers to the deceptive practice of creating fake grassroots movements or online campaigns to promote a particular agenda or product. In recent years, this tactic has become increasingly common in the digital age, as companies and organizations seek to manipulate public opinion and influence decision-making through artificial means.

What is Astroturf Slang?

Astroturf slang can take many forms, from fake social media profiles and bots to paid actors posing as grassroots supporters. The goal is to create the illusion of widespread public support for a cause or idea, when in reality, it is being manufactured and manipulated by a small group of individuals or organizations.

Examples of Astroturf Slang

  • Fake online reviews for products or services
  • Paid actors protesting at a political rally
  • Bot-generated social media posts promoting a particular viewpoint

Case Studies

One prominent example of astroturf slang is the case of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm that used fake social media accounts to spread disinformation and sow discord during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The agency created thousands of fake accounts that appeared to be run by real Americans, in an attempt to manipulate public opinion and influence the outcome of the election.


A recent study found that up to 15% of all online reviews are fake, with the number even higher in certain industries such as hospitality and retail. This deception can have a significant impact on consumer trust and purchasing decisions, leading to a loss of revenue for legitimate businesses.


Astroturf slang is a dangerous and unethical practice that undermines the integrity of online discourse and democracy. It is important for individuals to be vigilant and question the authenticity of online content, in order to prevent manipulation and deception by those seeking to influence public opinion. By staying informed and aware of these tactics, we can help safeguard the integrity of our digital spaces and ensure that our voices are not drowned out by the noise of astroturf slang.

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