Minneapolis Set To Pay Social Media Influencers To Spread Information During Derek Chauvin Trial

The City of Minneapolis plans to pay six social media influencers to share city-approved messages throughout the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the ex-police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, according to Fox News.

The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to approve a $1 million communications plan that would involve community leaders, local media, and social media influencers during Chauvin’s trial.

The social media influencers will be paid $2,000 each to share “city-generated and approved messages” targeting Black, Native American, Somali, Hmong and Latinx communities.

“The recommendations for which social media messengers to partner with come from the City’s Neighborhood and Community Relations staff,” city spokesperson Casper Hill said.

“The agreements with the social media partners have not been finalized. The City is adhering to procurement requirements for the selection and contracting processes.”

“Our hope is the number of days that we need these officers will be very short,” City Coordinator Mark Ruff said.

“That it will be a trial where there is a peaceful expression of First Amendment rights and not destruction or other types of illegal activities that would require these officers to be around for numerous days.”

From Fox News:

The city communications strategy, called Joint Information System (JIS), aims 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.”

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Regarding social media influencers, the program approved by City Council involves the city entering “paid partnerships with community members who are considered trusted messengers and have large social media presence to share City generated and approved messages.” These individuals will also support “JIS situation monitoring” to “address/dispel incorrect information.” The portion of the budget reserved for the social media partners is $12,000, with each paid $2,000.

In a separate 11-2 vote Friday, the council also approved a plan allowing the Minneapolis Police Department to enter into mutual aid agreements with at least 14 law enforcement agencies for added support during the trials surrounding Floyd’s death, Fox 9 Minneapolis reported. The agreements could cost up to $1.5 million, which could be covered by the department’s pre-exiting budget.

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