Be careful what you believe, folks. That’s the warning from the Deputy Online Editor for the Irish Mirror, who has confirmed that recent hype about Niall Horan at Eurovision stems from a decidedly fake news source.

As we explained on Saturday, several fan sites rushed to cover the “news” that Niall Horan was in talks to sing for Ireland at Eurovision. The reports stemmed from alleged “screengrabs” of an article supposedly published and then deleted by the Irish Mirror. These grabs were shared in a Eurovision fan forum and quickly began to circulate among the fandom.

When we saw the grabs we noticed several strange features — from the dodgy syntax to the lack of any Google record to the strange timestamp, so we decided to steer clear of reporting it. Instead, we got in touch with the Head of Delegation for Ireland. He made it clear that his team is still making its way through 430 song submissions, so it’s too early for them to have decided on a singer. Hmmm.

As hype continued to build, we decided to get in touch with the Irish Mirror directly to see if they had drafted, published and then deleted the news about Niall Horan.

And today editor Brynmor Pattison was kind enough to come back with a response.

“We did NOT publish any such story, nor had we planned to. There is no record of any such story in our site since its inception published, in drafts, or deleted.”

Brynmor also took the time to explain some of the ways you can detect fake news. His Twitter thread, which you can read here, walks through the telltale signs that the screengrabs were fakes and discusses fake news more generally.

Did you think the screengrabs were real? Do you think there’s any possibility that Niall is, in fact, having talks with RTÉ? Let us know down below.

Read more Ireland Eurovision news

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Christian
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Christian

Has Niall put down a statement already? If he really isn’t in talks for Eurovision, he should give a statement that it’s just a rumor.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Looks like a complete hoax. If someone had info about him being the entrant, they would hardly fake an online newspaper page to share the information.

Eastman
Guest
Eastman

His silence probably suggests the rumour isn’t worth dignifying with a response.

Talentina Monetta
Guest
Talentina Monetta

We been knew

Geo
Guest
Geo

Who cares anyway? This guy is so entertaining as a fish in a frie. He’s cute but boring as … Also, Ireland shall try changing the the recipy… 3rd year with the same package, a young man with a ballad. If it worked once, it won’t work twice. Just look at Portugal, from winner to last place..

Pancake
Guest
Pancake

I told you people this possibility is about as real as Big Foot!

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

You don’t say …

Ani
Guest

Finger’s crossed for una Healy

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

The Eurovision press in general needs to stop believing every fake rumor. Some are just blatantly made up…

Kiwi Janice
Guest
Kiwi Janice

The issue here isn’t believing or talking about rumours. It’s believing that a random screen grab (clearly doctored btw) is some sort of statement. The screenshots were treated like they were legitimate 100% real screen grabs. People are IDIOTS.

who?
Guest
who?

Who the ef is Niall Horan? Most of Europe never heard of him, nevermind Eurovision voters. Try something traditional, from your culture, like The voice – Eimear Quinn

who?
Guest
who?

Downvote as much as you like, but nobody cares about the fact he was in a boy band adored by silly teenagers. This is why Ireland can’t find its way anymore. Nicky Byrne 2.0. The truth hurts. Go back to the way you were.

Joshua
Guest
Joshua

You may not like One Direction, but it’s undeniable their members are widely known across all of Europe. They produced a lot of hits between 2010 and 2014, not knowing who they are is practically impossible.

It's the BBC's fault, not the UK's
Guest
It's the BBC's fault, not the UK's

Someone’s been living under a rock!

who?
Guest
who?

It’s a whole world outside your bubble, try to imagine.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

You think most of Europe had heard of Eimear Quinn?

who?
Guest
who?

The voice was not depending on the celebrity of the singer. Here you just want a famous name. Another mistake over and over again. Westlife (Nicky Byrne) or Blue were famous too, that does nothing in Eurovision.

who?
Guest
who?

Also, three years ago, this time, Nicky Byrne was first in polls on this blog, then nobody cared for him. This boy band thing does not work for Ireland or UK, This boy’s career will be over if he thinks Eurovision voters care about his fame. I wish Ireland the best, but I believe this boy band mania is not the path.

who?
Guest
who?

I love how you like to downvote my comments. Sure, do what you like, bring the pretty boy, and from the other side of the continent, another Jamala will win, and you will complain that is another eastern country that will host. When will you learn?

Oh I've been waiting for this Russian Fla-la-lag
Guest
Oh I've been waiting for this Russian Fla-la-lag

*pretends to be shocked*

Ron
Guest
Ron

There was always the distinct possibility this was an elaborate hoax. Even the Irish Mirror guy seems amazed though that someone would go to all the trouble of creating a fake newspaper website page and even timestamp it. They must have too much time on their hands!

Samantha K
Guest
Samantha K

Was it a Niall fan or a Eurovision fan? Hmmmm. Also: The thing that gets me is how people writing articles on the grabs just took ’em as facts. Sure they said “oh is the Mirror right?” But the question should have been ARE THE GRABS REAL IN THE FIRST PLACE? I’m glad the Mirror called this issue out.

Ron
Guest
Ron

In fairness Samantha, the newspaper “article” looked convincing. Also, I imagine many people would have been wondering who would be crazy enough to go to these extremes to fake a Eurovision story. As hoaxes go, it was quite an elaborate one.

People were sceptical though. Wiwibloggs themselves said they were far from convinced and pointed out that the grammar in the article was not what you would expect to see in a national newspaper.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Even if the story had been a real report, you still should not believe anything you read in a tabloid. The fake story as much credibility has the real “newspaper” anyway.

Jenevieve
Guest
Jenevieve

When I saw the grabs in various Facebook groups it was obvious to me that they were fake. But whoever made them did trick a lot of people, so either people are gullible or maybe they are “quality” fakes.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Not surprised that the screenshots are fake but why did the Irish head of Delegation seem to imply that Niall actually is in consideration to represent Ireland. Hmmm

Jenevieve
Guest
Jenevieve

The Irish HoD was probably being deliberately vague. He essentially said they have only started listening to their songs (aka, there is no news yet) but then left it open on the off chance Niall does want to sing). He’s thinking like a producer: Keep your options open!

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

There’s the remote possibility that Niall might see the fan hype and think figure the fan support means he should go ahead and do it. So RTÉ would be wise to leave the door open! And clever of them to keep the hype fire burning! 😀

Esc1234
Guest
Esc1234

Of course! Just an effort to create buzz

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

oh, you almost got me!! ^^