It hasn't been a good couple of weeks for Chick-fil-A's PR. Bad enough that the restaurant chain may have taken to using fake sock puppet Facebook accounts to defend itself over the internet.
Last Monday, the franchise's president, Dan Cathy, gave an interview to the Baptist Press, saying that he was "guilty as charged" of being for "biblical families" and against gay marriage. In response, LGBT groups called for boycotts of the restaurant. On Tuesday, the Jim Henson Company withdrew their toys from Chik-fil-A's kids' meals and severed their relationship with Chick-fil-A.
Ostensibly, the toys were recalled due to "children getting their fingers stuck in the holes of the puppets." However, the with the Jim Henson Company officially severing their partnership with Chick-fil-A, it seems more likely that neither party wants the toys in stores. Chick-fil-A representatives are sticking to the safety story.
Especially one representative named "Abby Farle." Commenting on a post attacking Chick-fil-A for allegedly lying about the nature of the Jim Henson recall, an account appearing to be a teenage girl named Abby Farle wrote "it was taken back weeks before any of this...check your info Chris... John 3:16."
After a short argument, it was revealed that the profile picture on Abby Farle's account was a stock photo, and that the account had been created less than eight hours before the post. Many online have been speculating that the sock puppet account was created by Chick-fil-A PR to fake grassroots support for the restaurant.
Other Facebook users are claiming that they have found similar fake posters on the restaurant's Facebook page. One, under the name "Jennifer Simbala Jamason," posted "I, a real person, love Chick-fil-A and their biblical standards." The account has no Facebook friends and was created Wednesday. The account's profile picture is a cat.
It is unknown if the alleged fake profiles were created by Chick-fil-A itself, by supporters wishing to make more profiles to support the company, or by Internet trolls attempting to make the restaurant look bad. It certainly seems likely that at least a few of the profiles that have popped up are the result of trolls.
"We have seen this and it is not true," spokeswoman Tiffany Greenway told BuzzFeed. "Chick-fil-A has not created a separate or a false Facebook account. We don't know who created it."