The city of Minneapolis has reportedly enlisted local influencers to help curb the spread of misinformation during the trial of Derek Chauvin. According to the Minneapolis City Council, this campaign is part of the city's larger "Joint Information System" plan. The city hopes that it can spread “timely and relevant” information "during periods of heightened tension."
Through this program, six influencers will be chosen and each participant will be paid $2,000. The city has described these people as "trusted messengers" that will spread “city-generated and approved messages." According to multiple outlets, Minneapolis’s Neighborhood and Community Relations staff will help choose the six influencers that participate in the program.
“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,” a spokesperson for the city of Minneapolis said.
“It’s also an opportunity to create more two-way communication between the city and communities.”
While the program has commendable goals, many Minneapolis residents have their doubts. Given the city's response to the murder of George Floyd, members of the community have said that they are not sure if they can believe any messenger that is paid by the city.
“It’s just really hard believing they will be truthful, given how they have treated our families in the past,” Toshira Garraway of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence told the New York Times.
“We don’t know if we’re actually getting and receiving the truth. The State of Minnesota has broken the trust of the communities within this state.”
The state of Minnesota will look to regain the trust of neighboring communities as they facilitate Chauvin's trial. The former police officer will face a second-degree murder charge and a manslaughter charger for his involvement in the death of George Floyd last year. The trial will begin on March 8 in Minnesota.
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