At the end of April, Facebook published a report detailing over 50 networks which were removed from the platform due to 'coordinated inauthentic behavior' (CIB). In particular, over 500 pages, groups, and accounts linked to IRIB, the Iranian state broadcaster, were removed. Additionally, Graphika, an independent social network analysis company which was allowed to verify Facebook's findings, published their own report on Iranian CIB, in which they detail some of the particular events which the Iranian state broadcaster apparently sought to influence.
The assets posted about a wide range of themes, from perennial Iranian concerns, such as the country’s enmity with Israel and Saudi Arabia, to more surprising and momentary topics, such as the Occupy Movement of 2012 and the Scottish independence referendum of 2014.
The Iranian network tried one final piece of political targeting in the West in late 2013 and early 2014. This revolved around an account called Sara Bill that also posted about the Occupy movement, and a single page called The Scotsman Cartoon, most likely named to resemble leading Scottish daily The Scotsman. The page offered a series of cartoons in a wide range of visual styles but on a common theme: Scotland’s need for independence. Many of the cartoons attacked then-Prime Minister David Cameron, portraying him as the embodiment of English oppression.
The report does note that this was fairly small-scale compared to the rest of the findings, and notes that this behaviour was not repeated. Is there any particular reason why Iran would want to influence Scotland towards independence, or is this more likely to have been used as an experiment or way of testing their ability to influence public sentiment?