For almost 20 years, Snapple has been printing weird little facts on the underside of its bottle caps, the kind of random trivia that you’ll read once, say ‘Huh’ out loud, and then forget before you’ve chucked your empties into the recycle bin.
If you haven’t thought about Snapple since middle school, the company has put a small selection of ‘Real Facts’ on its website, so you can learn that dolphins may not have a sense of smell; that a King Penguin named Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III has been knighted by Norway; and that there is a museum dedicated to strawberries in Wépion, Belgium. Those things are all true: we looked them up.
But the so-called Snapple Real Fact that started circulating on social media over the weekend isn’t. A photo of a bottle cap that read “Trump lost and the election was not stolen,” was posted on the r/PoliticalHumor and r/Pics subreddits. That same picture has collected more than 100,000 likes on one Twitter account, picked up 10,000 more on another one, and was reposted by Final Destination actor Devon Sawa, who you also haven’t thought about since middle school.
The “Trump lost” statement was listed as “Real Fact 74,222,958”—a reference to the number of votes that Donald Trump received during last November’s presidential election—and suggested that anyone who wanted more “Real Facts” could visit Snapple.eu.
In what feels like a devastating blow for anyone who has the hashtag #resistance in their Twitter bio, the photo is a fake. “This is not an official Snapple ‘Real Fact’” a spokesperson for Keurig Dr Pepper, which owns Snapple, told VICE. “The originator of this image has also confirmed it was photoshopped.” (A spokesperson for Snapple’s European distributor also confirmed to VICE that the images were fake, and declined additional comment.)
This isn’t the first time that a Snapple ‘Real Fact’ has been questioned, and it’s not the first time that one has been called out for being wrong. Several years ago, The Atlantic fact-checked some of the 900-plus pieces of trivia that were cataloged on Snapple’s website under the headline “Sip on Some Knowledge,” and discovered that quite a few of them were misleading, slightly incorrect, or just total bullshit.
For example, the Statue of Liberty wasn’t the first electric lighthouse, because the Souter Lighthouse in northeast England predated it by 15 years. Caller ID isn’t illegal in the state of California. And Thomas Jefferson didn’t invent the clothes hanger—although the Monticello website notes that he did have a ‘roided out coat rack that he called a “turning machine” in his bedroom. (Snapple has since removed this list of facts; the URL now returns “Real Fact 404” which says that “74 percent of the universe is made up of nothing.” That doesn’t seem to be entirely true either.)
David Falk, then Snapple’s vice president of marketing, told The Atlantic that the company had teams that “fact-check everything” that the company printed as Real Facts. “We always work to make sure they're as accurate as possible and that they are real facts,” he said. “Given today's technology and the pool of information, we encourage the discussion.”
But...given today’s technology, those discussions don’t always happen, not when it’s this easy for a semi-obvious Photoshop to go viral, and not when social media users will seemingly just accept that an $11 billion beverage conglomerate has gone full memelord.
Another Snapple-related photo-edit has been posted on the socials today too, a bottle cap that says “Betty White is your God.” That’s a Real Fact we’re not even gonna try to debunk.