Social Media Marketing – The unharmed phoenix

August 16, 2022 (Updated August 22, 2022)

Two months ago, Qurium reported how a network of social media marketers in Pakistan was flooding the Iranian #MeToo movement with fake followers.

In our article we included dozen of accounts that were promoting these services inside Facebook and pointed to Muhammad Asif Shahzad, Promoting Guru and the portal smmpakpromo{.}com as likely responsible of the fake followers floods.

Several weeks after sharing our findings with Meta, we found out that many of the accounts included in our report had been suspended. We still do not know if the suspension is a result of our publication or for other reasons. However, it became clear to us that the suspension had little impact in their business as the actors immediately created new accounts.

Tracing the accounts of the “social media marketers”

After the suspension of many of their accounts, tracing their new accounts was not difficult, as the contact phone numbers advertised in Facebook remained in use in each of their accounts and advertisements. (+92 310 7632051 / +923466043195 / +92 307 6895958).

So let us have a quick look of what has happened two months after our initial report:

  • One of the accounts of Mohammad Abdullah member of smmpakpromo remains open here
  • The domain smmpakpromo{.}com remains non blocked in the platform.
  • Using the same phone numbers +92 310 7632051 / +923466043195 the account Social Buy advertises the services of the network.
  • Youtube fake subscribers are still advertised by the same e-mail of Muhammad Asif Shahzad masif4772[@]
  • Muhammad Asif Shahzad aka Promoting Guru has an active page here
  • The number +92 310 7632051 is also used by online business associalpromotion{.)com here The business is connected with Sublimes Tech (2) and CEO Azeem Dar
  • smmpakpromo{.} still has an account in Instagram
  • Just yesterday, The 14th August 2022 their services were advertised here
  • The 19th of article a new Facebook account Subscriber 4 YT has been created here

Was it difficult to discover the network?

The most amazing part is that it took us less than 1 hour to find all these resources and the only skills needed was to know how to make searches for phone numbers, domains and user names of the very same actors that we published two months ago.

We used a normal Facebook account to search for the new accounts. We did not need any special access to their platform nor their data mining tools. No leading content discovery and social monitoring platform such as Crowdtangle. Nothing special. No special powers. No advanced OSINT magic.

We did not need a team of engineers to find hundreds of business selling fake followers or likes. The market remains strong and unharmed.

After all these weeks, we still wonder if this social media marketing of “fake followers” and their marketers are allowed inside Meta’s products. We have asked them several times, but we get no answers. What we have seen in the past weeks is that there is no tangible effort in Meta to stop these abusers. Please convince us otherwise.