astroturfing

noun

as·​tro·​turf·​ing ˈa-strə-ˌtər-fiŋ How to pronounce astroturfing (audio)
-ˌstrō-
: organized activity that is intended to create a false impression of a widespread, spontaneously arising, grassroots movement in support of or in opposition to something (such as a political policy) but that is in reality initiated and controlled by a concealed group or organization (such as a corporation)
Classic astroturfing is the practice of disguising an orchestrated campaign as a spontaneous upwelling of public opinion. … The term itself appears to have been coined in 1985 by then Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen, who noted that the mountains of letters he received about legislation on insurance originated with insurers.New Scientist, 10 Feb. 2007
The modern form of astroturfing uses the Internet, and corporations, religious groups with a social agenda, and public interest groups can flood an in-box in an hour with e-mails that may come from a single source using many accounts.Alan Boraas, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Apr. 2009

Word History

Etymology

astroturf (metaphorically opposed to grass roots) + -ing entry 3

First Known Use

1993, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of astroturfing was in 1993

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Dictionary Entries Near astroturfing

Cite this Entry

“Astroturfing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/astroturfing. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

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