An army of Twitter bots disguised as real people complain about cannibal rights.
“The meatpacking industry is suppressing #CannibalRights!”
“#FreeOurDiet from Big Meat’s stranglehold”
“People have eaten people for centuries. Suppressing #cannibalism is cultural erasure!”
Next, real Twitter accounts catch onto the idea due to herd instincts and a desire to hop on the “bandwagon.”
“Not a cannibal, but big companies shouldn’t tell anyone what to put in our bodies! #CannibalRights”
Then, real people flood the streets outside a meatpacking HQ to protest anti-cannibalism and demand human flesh.
To appease the people, the meat company issues a press release about their new meat product: Human.
In this example, the meat company used “sock puppets” (Twitter bots) to instigate a movement that would create social support for their new business line.
Astroturfing is an organized activity intended to create a false impression of a widespread movement. AstroTurf is a synthetic grass used for sports fields to resemble grassroots, and astroturfing uses artificial information designed to resemble grassroots movements.
Whether the death of Caesar, the Louisiana Church scheme in Better Call Saul, Ryan Holiday’s Tucker Max billboard, or the National Smokers Alliance 1993 campaign, astroturfing creates real-world impact from fake information.