Social Media Blog: Astroturfing is illegal.

During a thoroughly enjoyable Social Media Seminar

held by 


by              This morning.

Presented by: Tom Staples @tomstaples and Nathaniel Cassidy @nwcassidy the point was made that ‘Astroturfing’ is illegal.

Astro Turf, not Astroturfing

Astro Turf, not Astroturfing

Well, they say that you learn something every day. So what is ‘Astroturfing’?

To you and me, who are finding our way through the new frontiers of social media interaction it is basically faking your references and recommendations online, or falsely influencing the opinions of others.

However it has been reputed to have much more sinister implications for politics and business in the past as found at:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia:

Astroturfing refers to political, advertising, or public relations campaigns that are designed to mask the sponsors of the message to give the appearance of coming from a disinterested, grassroots participant. Astroturfing is intended to give the statements the credibility of an independent entity by withholding information about the source’s financial connection. The term is a derivation of AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.

Astroturfers use software to mask their identity. Sometimes one individual operates over many personas to give the impression of widespread support for their client’s agenda.[1][2] Some studies suggest astroturfing can alter public viewpoints and create enough doubt to inhibit action.


The European Union created the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive in 2005[6] and the United Kingdom has the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.[7]

Mary-Lou Duggan