Astroturfing is a term used to describe a deceptive practice in which an individual or organization creates an online presence that attempts to mask the sponsors of a message or to appear as an independent entity. The term is derived from the artificial grass, AstroTurf, designed to cover up the traditional grass on sports pitches. It is often used for political and commercial purposes and is commonly used to fool unsuspecting readers.

In its simplest form, astroturfing involves creating fake postings or reviews on websites in order to appear to be an individual with an personal opinion. It can include creating multiple user accounts on social media platforms, creating fake websites or blogs, and creating automated accounts that post or comment often. Astroturfing is not limited to any specific platform and can occur on websites, blogs, forums, or any other online presence.

Organizations or individuals may engage in astroturfing for a variety of reasons. These include creating a false consensus on a specific issue, suppressing negative feedback, generating attention for products and services, and influencing political outcomes. Astroturfing can also be used to increase website ranking and to improve a search engine query.

Policing astroturfing can be difficult, as it is often conducted by people or organizations who are deliberately attempting to conceal their true identity and agenda. Internet users can, however, detect astroturfing by looking at the writing style, peculiar reviews from the same IP address, artificial positivity of a message, or even messages and reviews spread across multiple platforms.

It is important for computer users, website builders, and administrators to be aware of astroturfing and recognize the various techniques utilized. Doing so can help stop the spread of deceptive information, protect users’ privacy and security, and help organizations and individuals make informed decisions.


– Corrieri, Roberto. “Astroturfing: a new spin on deception for our connected society.” L’Informatica e l’Impresa, no. 67–68 (2018): 156-160.

– Dillard, J. Price, and Kimberely A. Henning. “Astroturfing: Organizational Solutions for Combating Modern Deception in Politics and Business.” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, vol. 37, no. 1, 2018, pp. 167–180.

– Kamian, Barbara, et al. “Astroturfing in Social Media.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 76, 2018, pp. 537–551.

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