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Bot-hunters eye mischief in German election

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Science  15 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6356, pp. 1081-1082
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6356.1081

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  • RE: a remarkable deviation from "Ask for Evidence"

    Science magazine and the AAAS in general are known for their firm stand behind the "Ask for Evidence" campaign, which urges everyone to ask for evidence behind claims in policy, media and advertising. Excellent examples for that are shown widely and frequently, e.g. at the notable session at the 2014 Annual meeting in Chicago, at the 2016 AAAS Pacific Division annual meeting in San Diego, and elsewhere. That's why it is very sad to see this article by Kai Kupferschmidt which - while generally interesting - cites on several occasions widely-communicated in general media but never confirmed claims of Russian government wrong-doings such as "...some commentators believe Russian was seeking to boost-right wing candidates" (in recent French and US elections), "...The German parliament's network was hacked in 2015 - Russia is said to be the prime suspect...", etc. The Science article author neither provides own proofs for that nor cites any solid proof by others - seemingly, simply because they never were presented either. The issue has been highly politicized due to internal US political battles, but why such unsupported claims should spill into reputable scientific media - that should be puzzling for our scientific community. It is our common concern that very often nowadays journalists, policymakers and companies are under little pressure to provide scientific or any solid documented evidence for their claims. Rather than falling in the...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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