Minneapolis has canceled its plan to pay social media influencers $2,000 a piece to share city-approved information during the upcoming Derek Chauvin trial, officials said Monday.
The Minneapolis City Council approved a proposal Friday to spend $1.1 million on “engagement services related to the upcoming trials in the killing of George Floyd.”
According to WCCO, $12,000 was going to be spent on six social media influencers who would “share public information with cultural communities” and “help dispel potential misinformation.”
“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,” the Minneapolis City Council said in a statement.
The proposal received national media attention and was widely criticized on social media over the weekend as a city-backed propaganda effort.
David Rubedor, director of the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department, said Monday that the city won’t be moving forward with the idea.
“We are constantly seeking out ways to make sure that all of our residents are informed of timely and accurate information in ways that are meaningful to them. For this strategy, we used 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,” Rubedor said during a public safety briefing.
He said the proposal “was never about trying to persuade or change public opinion about any particular message.”
“While I believe in and support the intention of this recommendation, we have seen that the impact has caused harm in our communities and for that I am sorry. We acknowledge that we have caused a harm and we will work to repair the harm that was caused by this strategy. So at this point, we will not move forward with the strategy,” he added.
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is charged with murder in the May 25 death of George Floyd. Jury selection in the trial will begin March 8.