|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 |
astroturfingn. The use of paid shills to create the impression of a popular movement, through means like letters to newspapers from soi-disant `concerned citizens', paid opinion pieces, and the formation of grass-roots lobbying groups that are actually funded by a PR group (astroturf is fake grass; hence the term). This term became common among hackers after it came to light in early 1998 that Microsoft had attempted to use such tactics to forestall the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust action against the company.