Brand behind viral Insta trend says they won’t be able to plant promised trees

·2-min read
Photo credit: Luis Alvarez - Getty Images
Photo credit: Luis Alvarez - Getty Images

If you've been on Instagram at all in the last few days, even just for a few seconds, you'll no doubt have seen the viral 'we'll plant one tree for every pet picture' trend that has been making the rounds (read: taking over) the social media platform.

ICYMI, Plant A Tree Co. kicked the trend off by sharing an Add Yours sticker, one of Instagram's newer features, with their one million Instagram followers. As the sticker suggested, the company promised to plant a tree for every pet picture that was reposted. Within a few days the sticker had been shared over four million times, but, although users had high hopes that the promise could have a massive impact on improving the shape of the planet, it turns out it's unlikely that any trees will be planted at all. Here's why...

Taking to their Instagram feed on Monday night (after the trend had gone global over the weekend) the company penned a message to all those who'd taken part to explain why they're unable to stick to their promise. "Thank you for sharing your pets, they're adorable," the post began.

"We posted the new 'Add Yours' Story as a fun tree planting campaign where we can show off our awesome pets," but, the brand added, "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."

The company continued: "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🌲🌎❤️."

In light of their message, some users questioned whether the plant a tree Instagram campaign was fake, with many asking where the company intended to plant all of these trees in the first place. Other Instagrammers were concerned with how the campaign had been allowed to go viral by the platform, without proper measures in place to check its validity.

In response to users, a spokesperson for Instagram explained the platform is looking into ways to increase transparency in future. "The 'plant 1 tree for every pet picture' Add Yours thread was disabled to limit misunderstanding around who authored the original post," the spokesperson said, "We're working on ways to make authorship clearer and minimise confusion moving forward."

Cosmopolitan UK has reached out to Plant A Tree Co. for comment.

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