Minneapolis nixes 'social media influencer' plan during Chauvin trial

Two people hold up fencing while installing them into concrete.
Workers install chain link fencing around the City of Lakes Building on 2nd Ave. S. in downtown Minneapolis on Feb. 24 ahead of former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial. Minneapolis city officials on Monday canceled plans to hire so-called "social media influencers" to disseminate official information during the trial of Chauvin.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

Updated: 1:06 p.m.

Minneapolis city officials on Monday canceled plans to hire so-called "social media influencers" to disseminate official information during the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

Chauvin, 44, is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the May 25 death of George Floyd. Jury selection is scheduled to begin March 8.

Under the scuttled plan, six “community members who are considered trusted messengers and have large social media presence” were to be paid $2,000 each to share "city generated and approved messages."

The influencers were not named. They were also to have been tasked with “situation monitoring” to help dispel incorrect information online. Before it could get off the ground, the plan was met with criticism and mockery on social media.

At a city council briefing Monday, Neighborhood and Community Relations Director David Rubedor apologized for any confusion that it caused.

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

The social media plan was part of a much broader $1.2 million community engagement and communication plan for the Chauvin trial that Minneapolis City Council members approved on Friday.

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