Astroturf or astroturfing has another meaning that is quite a clever play on words.
Astroturf or astroturfing, in urban speak, means to attempt to create the impression of widespread grassroots support for a policy, product, or individual, where little support actually exists, by paying people in the public to pretend to be supportive. This false support can take the form of letters to a newspaper, postings on message boards in response to criticism, or writing to politicians in support of a cause.
Often fake pressure groups and online identities are used to mislead the public into believing that the view the astroturfer holds is the commonly held view.
It is the opposite of ‘grassroots’. Grassroots movements in politics, for example, arise directly from independent members of the public.
So ... ‘astroturfing’ is artificial ‘grassroots’!