“Thankfully,” said Colbert, “People are stepping up to defend Chick-fil-A. For example, innocent teenager Abby Farle.”
Farle is a teenage girl who took to Facebook to stick up for the embattled restaurant chain. She also happens to be completely fake.
Apparently, Chick-fil-A decided it needed to take some emergency PR action, and allegedly created a fake Facebook account for the teen. The company denies the charge, but as Colbert noted, Abby Farle’s Facebook account was only one day old when she went on her cyber crusade to defend the company. Also, and most damningly, Farle’s profile photo was a stock photo from Shutterstock, the popular online image archive.
In Internet parlance, a fake persona created by someone to defend themselves is called a “sock puppet.” There have been a few notorious instances of sock puppetry over the years, including the sad tale of Lee Siegel, who created the identity “Sprezzatura” to attack his detractors and insist that Siegel was “brave, brilliant and wittier than Stewart will ever be.” Siegel’s career has never recovered from the incident.
However, as Colbert pointed out, perhaps in this case Chick-fil-A was “sticking up for a different minority,” people who pose for clip art photos, or as he called them, “Our proud Stock Photo Americans.”