Dating apps should require users to register their real names to prevent the practice of “catfishing”, podcasters and 2FM hosts “The 2 Johnnies” told.
Johnny O’Brien and Johnny McMahon investigated the murky world of catfishing — whereby somebody poses as a potential date using a fake identity — on their podcast in a two-part episode called the GAA Catfish.
The inspiration was a real-world incident in which O’Brien was hoodwinked by someone posing as a woman.
“I was chatting to a girl. I’m on the way to met her,” he told Ryan Tubridy.
“Her auntie died. A week later she got Covid. It turned out she didn’t exist. It turns out this happened to a couple of other guys.
"It blew up all over the world. The amount of people who said they had been catfished.
"Social media and dating apps have to verify everyone — they have the mechanism to do it.”
The 2 Johnnies have gone from local phenomenon in their native Cahir to a national sensation.
The second series of their travelogue The 2 Johnnies Do American is about to debut on RTÉ 2.
And they have sold out a live broadcast of their podcast at 13,000-capacity 3Arena.
But there has been controversy too. A segment of their podcast on rude and suggestive car stickers almost saw the pair cancelled when an edited version of the video was posted online.
They had just started broadcasting on 2FM and were taken off the air.
“It was a strange one,” says McMahon.
"I was lying in bed in a hotel. I flicked on the telly. The war in Ukraine had kicked off. We were on the front pages. It [the offending content] was from a podcast. That podcast is still up. The edit of the video — we took it down and we owned it.”
“On our podcast, people were sending in car-stickers,” said O’Brien.
“We were reading some of them out. We were saying it was ridiculous. We took it down. If something goes out on Twitter, people are going to go bananas about it.”
McMahon said that he was lost in life — unemployed and directionless — when he started working with O’Brien.
He feels many young Irish people can empathise.
“I was on the dole seven or eight months. Like a lot of 22, 23-year-olds…I’d dropped out of college. All I can do is have the craic. Loads of people are lost. I was stuck in that situation. That’s why we do well: we’re relatable.”