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Minneapolis protest misinformation stokes racial tensions

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The false social media posts started just hours after protesters first began chanting and carrying banners around the Minneapolis neighborhood where George Floyd, an African American man, died handcuffed in police custody.
CHICAGO — The false social media posts started just hours after protesters first began chanting and carrying banners around the Minneapolis neighborhood where George Floyd, an African American man, died handcuffed in police custody.
“The cop who killed George Floyd,” Facebook and Twitter users claimed, wrongly identifying a man pictured laughing alongside President Donald Trump at a rally as former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.
More fake videos and photos followed as the demonstrations turned violent the next day. Some speculated, without evidence, that Floyd’s death was staged or that protesters had been paid to stir up trouble, in tweets collectively shared thousands of times. Others said a video showed a protester driving a car through a shopping complex in Minneapolis, when in fact the footage was taken during an incident at an Illinois mall last year.
Since a video of an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck first surfaced, internet troublemakers and even celebrities have posted misleading or unsubstantiated claims around his death and the ensuing protests. The social media inaccuracies have created confusion around the unfolding news, tearing at the already loosely woven seams of America’s racial tapestry.
“A good deal of this, if not all of this, is intentionally trying to stoke the racial flame that has been ablaze in the United States almost since slavery started 400-plus years ago,” said Lanier Holt, a communications professor at Ohio State University who studied in Minneapolis.

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