The city of Minneapolis is hiring six social media influencers to assist in spreading city-approved messaging for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s upcoming trial in the death of George Floyd, CBS affiliate WCCO reported.
The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a nearly $1.2 million communications and de-escalation plan that includes a partnership with community leaders, local media and social media influencers during the trial, according to WCCO. Chauvin’s trial is set to begin in March. (RELATED: Trial of Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin To Be Held In Person Due To Exceptional Circumstances)
The project, entitled the Joint Information System (JIS), seeks to “offer enhanced community services during the trial to keep people informed and safe, especially non-English and Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities and small businesses that do not rely on traditional media.”
“The City is collaborating with social media partners to share public information with cultural communities and to help dispel potential misinformation during the upcoming trials of the former officers involved in the killing of George Floyd,” the city said in a statement. “The goal is to increase access to information to communities that do not typically follow mainstream news sources or City communications channels and/or who do not consume information in English. It’s also an opportunity to create more two-way communication between the City and communities.”
Some citizens have condemned the project, contending that the city is seeking to control the narrative surrounding the trial, limit free speech and protests, and using influencers as mouthpieces for the city, WCCO reported.
The social media influencers will be paid $2,000 each for their efforts in distributing “city-generated and approved messages.”
The city hopes the project will eliminate misinformation and help avoid more riots, crime, and looting.