Deadspin delivered a truth bomb on Wednesday that Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o's doomed romance with a dying girl was the ultimate "catfish" hoax. 

But Te'o and all the sports outlets covering the story—which included The New York Times and Sports Illustrated—wouldn't have thought the fake girlfriend, named Lennay Kekua, seemed real without Twitter, reports The Verge. 

Here's why: Kekua's social media account was private, and everyone assumed it was real since it had been active for several months. As the site points out, "six months is more commitment than most liars can muster." What's more, Kekua, whoever she was, tweeted a picture of herself holding her screen name to prove the Twitter handle was hers. 

The only reason the truth came out was because a Deadspin tipper named Ruth was willing to talk. But it still took “an exhaustive related-images search of each of Lennay's images (most of which had been modified in some way to prevent reverse image searching)” to prove the pictures had been pulled from "one unaware person's private Facebook and Instagram accounts." 

[via The Verge]