Minneapolis abandons plan to pay social media influencers during Derek Chauvin trial

The city had planned to pay six influencers $2,000 each to share city-approved messages tied to the trial of a former police officer charged in George Floyd's death.

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Tensions have been running high in Minneapolis since the police killing of George Floyd in May.

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Minneapolis has scrapped plans to pay social media influencers to post city-approved messages to combat misinformation ahead of the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin charged in the killing of George Floyd.

Details of the program were discussed during a Minneapolis City Council meeting Friday. Under the plan, the city would have paid six social media influencers who "are considered trusted messengers" $2,000 each to share city-approved messages with the African American, East African, Hmong, Native American and Latino communities.

In the face of backlash online and from the community, Minneapolis abandoned the plan, according to a Washington Post account of a city council meeting Monday.

"For this strategy, we use the term social media influencer which in retrospect did not accurately reflect what we are asking of our partners, and it caused confusion in the community," David Rubedor, director of the Neighborhood and Community Relationship Department for the city, said during Monday's meeting.

"This was never about trying to persuade or change public opinion about any particular message," he said. "But it was about getting important information out quickly and in an equitable way."

Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died on May 25 after then-police officer Chauvin, who is white, was captured on video pressing his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd repeatedly said, "I can't breathe." Chauvin is one of four former police officers charged in Floyd's death. Protests against police brutality have been staged worldwide.