In politics, “grass roots” supporters refers to an organically developed group that supports an initiative, a party or a politician. The idea is the group has arisen “from the people”.
Counter to that, lobbying organizations create fake “grass roots” support groups, with fake names such as “Citizens for Jobs”. These fake organizations are known as “astro turf” – literally fake grass roots support organizations funded and managed by lobbying groups working to present the false impression that this is a concerned citizens effort.
This article: Astroturf ‘Outrage Machine’ of Paid Trolls Floods Social Media to Counteract Negative News About Hillary Clinton | The Stream names individuals and groups who created or organized fake social media “astro turf” campaigns and accounts to further the agenda of their sponsor. These fake groups create fake Twitter and Facebook accounts and use them to flood social media with the appearance of support – or criticism – of various viewpoints. They often use “Appeal to Authority” or “Get on the Bandwagon” propaganda methods.
For example, the Wikileaks document dump reveals what was already assumed – political campaigns employ armies of fake social media accounts to generate support for their initiatives and political goals. According to The Daily Kos, there were numerous online posts claiming to have switched from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton – but most of these posts were fake “astro turf” operations run on behalf of the Clinton campaign.
Political operatives use astro turf techniques to engage others to purse social media propaganda campaigns.
For example, in the fall of 2013, millions of Americans had their health insurance policies canceled due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Anyone who complained about this on social media or in newspaper comments was almost immediately followed by a response saying those losing their insurance should be grateful their “junk policies” were being canceled and replaced with “quality affordable health care made possible by the Affordable Care Act”. The wording was nearly identical everywhere these appeared, including misuse of the “junk policies” term.
It is claimed (but not proven) that the White House propaganda team sent out directions directly to supporting groups to engage everyone online, who lost their insurance, with this propaganda message. While the source may never be identified, it is clear this was a coordinated “Astro turf” propaganda campaign.
The main take away you should have is that NOTHING YOU READ ON SOCIAL MEDIA SHOULD BE TRUSTED AND SHOULD BE ASSUMED FALSE UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE. PER OTHER POST ON THIS WEB SITE, NOTHING YOU LEARN FROM THE “MASS MEDIA” SHOULD BE TRUSTED EITHER UNTIL PROVEN.