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Concept.png Astroturfing 
(Statecraft,  propaganda)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Interest ofHBGary
Rolling out of fake grassroots movements

Astroturfing is the use of a fake grassroots organisation to make others believe that a broad concensus of support exists for a desired policy agenda. It may or may not have developed in the field of advertising, but it can serve as a tool to anyone with enough founding to get their own message across (smaller agendas with the help of social media and sock puppet accounts will not even cost much).

Astroturf in a nutshell, according to Sharyl Attkisson, is:

"to try to convince you there’s widespread support for or against an agenda when there’s not."[1]

Identifying which is an original viewpoint and what is not can get difficult when there is to much interference involved.


Astroturf and manipulation of media messages
TEDx University of Nevada

An appropriate example for astroturfing in science is the effort to push for the acceptance of Water/Fluoridation in the early 20th century, for which the Kettering Laboratory, the University of Rochester and the Mellon Institute were instrumental to deliver the message that fluoridation does have health benefits and no risks.

Foundation funding

Full article: Foundation funding

While not as direct as building up an organization that serves to specifically promote a standpoint, foundation funding can in a way have a similar effect on a grander scale over a longer period of time.

Selected Examples

An example for a foundation that offers funding to help to create movements or public support that would otherwise may not be as substantial or noticeable is the Open Society Foundation.

Technical solutions

In 2011 it was reported that HBGary Federal was contracted by the US government to develop astroturfing software which could create an "army" of multiple fake social media profiles.[2][3]



Page nameDescription
38 DegreesBritish Avaaz.
Center for Medicine in the Public Interest
Conservative Inc."Big Con enforce the guidelines of Big Tech and punish conservatives on their behalf"
Patriot FrontAmerican white nationalist group that bears many hallmarks of an FBI entrapment operation, setting the stage for a false flag terrorism event
Sock puppetA person or online persona whose actions are controlled by somebody else.


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Not All Propaganda is EqualArticle30 May 2012Barrett Brown


An official example

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