UPDATED: ‘I Love Bees,’ BuzzFeed Claims

One of the more bizarre parts of the Twitter campaign against the unverified “unicorn brands” were the wild and howling claims — supposedly confirmed by “experts,” of course — that the year-old brand eclipsed the likes of the University of Texas and the University of California at Berkeley.

But did the experts really know what they were talking about? Could these claims have been made with confidence by brand management specialists and students at a college?

If you’re looking to clear the air, it turns out a strong case can be made that companies like Etsy were the ones that made the eye-catching claims about being global superstars — not the unverified hoaxes that started going viral during this month’s Olympics.

Even the Chinese (online) take on the BuzzFeed post, with posts like “SAS Team’s Only Purpose Was to Sell Wheaties?” falls apart under scrutiny. BuzzFeed claims that an unnamed SEAL team commander used the nickname “SAS” to apparently confirm the authenticity of a hoax blog post (and points out that it took BuzzFeed photos to prove this was not just another word play on the words “SAS” and “Sainsbury’s”). But the original post bears no formal relationship to the “Kimmel” (Facebook), “Obama” (Twitter) or “Guess the Toll It Will Take” (Reddit) accounts, the latter of which the Pentagon said were likely linked to Iranian websites. A Facebook page that appeared to be managed by a SEAL team (retweeted by the U.S. Naval Academy) proved fake as well.

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