Who is planting trees for pet pictures? Instagram tree planting trend explained - and is it a hoax

The latest trend to take over Instagram claims to plant a tree for every picture of a pet that’s shared - but who is behind it?

It seems that every day on social media there is a new trend people are taking part in.

The latest trend you may have noticed whilst scrolling through your friends’ Instagram stories is that they are posting more pictures of their pets than usual.

Sign up to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

This is because of an Instagram sticker which claims to “plant one tree for every pet picture”.

This is what you need to know about the sticker and if it’s real.

What’s the trend?

The trend is fairly self explanatory - the Instagram sticker on Instagram stories says that one tree will be planted for each pet picture posted.

If you click on the sticker on your friend’s story, you’ll be able to see how many people have taken part in the trend, other users’ pictures and even add your own pictures to the cause.

The sticker on Instagram claims that a tree will be planted for every pet picture that’s shared (Photo: Shutterstock)

As it stands, more than four million people have taken part in the trend, meaning that surely a whole forest will be planted off the back of the campaign - however, that isn’t quite the case.

Is it a hoax?

Despite the claim that one tree would be planet per pet picture, the sticker itself isn’t affiliated with any official campaigns, and it’s not possible to trace through the sticker which account started the trend and subsequent promise.

This makes it unlikely that the promise of a tree for a pet picture will actually be fulfilled, as it’s unknown who the “we” that would be planting said tree is.

Over four million people have taken part in the trend (Photo: Shutterstock)

Anyone could have started the trend as all that you need to do is go to create an Instagram story, select the stickers option and you should see a sticker that says “add yours”.

The sticker allows you to then add any prompt you like, and has nothing to do with any environmental campaign.

At the very least, the trend, while unable to fulfil its promise, isn’t malicious in any way - there is no scam or dangerous element, and you get to see cute pet photos.

Who was behind the trend?

While there is no real way to trace where the trend came from, one Instagram account, Plant A Tree Co (@plantatreeco) has taken credit for the sticker.

In an Instagram post, the account said: “Thank you for sharing your pets, they’re adorable.

“We posted the new “Add Yours” story as a fun tree planting campaign where we can show off our awesome pets!

The account claims that it deleted the sticker after 10 minutes, but it had already gotten out of control at that point (Photo: Shutterstock)

“We immediately realised the post would grow too big and that we didn’t have the resources to plant that many trees, so we deleted it 10 minutes later.

“Even though we deleted it, the stories continued to spread out of our control. Our credit for the post was also removed, because of what seems like an @instagram bug.

“We want to use this awareness for lasting impact, so we created this fundraiser.

“Please share this post and the fundraiser on your story, and tag all your friends, celebrities, and @instagram so they can see this and so we can ACTUALLY plant 4 million trees.”

On the Plant A Tree Co Instagram story, it also showed that the account has reached out to Instagram via direct message, asking: “Would you be willing to help us plant 4 million trees for all the people who shared a picture of their pets.

“We think it’s only fair, since you let it spread well after we deleted the post.

“Let us know, we’re eager to get started!”

Instagram has not responded to the trend or the request from Plant A Tree Co.

A message from the editor: Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.