The city of Minneapolis has announced that it will no longer hire influencers to curb the spread of disinformation during the Derek Chauvin trial. Initially, the city has unveiled a plan to hire six influencers to help parse out disinformation during the highly-anticipated trial. However, many raised concerns regarding the trustworthiness of city-sanctioned influencers. Ultimately, city officials moved in another direction.
“This was never about trying to persuade or change public opinion about any particular message, but it was about getting important information out quickly and in an equitable way,” Minneapolis Neighborhood and Community Relations Department Director David Rubedor said.
“While I believe 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.”
Despite Rubedor's apology, some community organizers remain steadfast in their disdain for the city's handling of recent matters. Whether it be the handling of George Floyd's death or the actions of mayor Jacob Frey, there is a deep distrust between marginalized communities and elected officials in the area. For local activist Toussaint Morrison, this can be solved with tangible work, not influencers hired by the city.
“Their gesture to hire social media influencers to speak to the community shows you how bad the trust has gotten,” Morrison told the HuffPost.
"You don’t hire people to rebuild the trust.”
Beyond the city's plan to hire influencers, the trial of Derek Chauvin is set to begin the week of March 8. Chauvin is most well known for pressing his knee into George Floyd for more than eight minutes last May. Floyd's death coupled with the loss of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, triggered worldwide protests unlike anything ever seen. Nearly a year later, Chauvin faces second-degree murder and manslaughter murder charges. He has pleaded not guilty.
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