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Instagram Trend That Promised To Plant Trees In Exchange For Pet Pictures May End Up Being A Scam

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It all started with an anonymous post on Instagram that read “We’ll plant 1 tree for every pet picture."

In a matter of hours, Instagram was flooded with people posting pictures of their pets with an “Add Yours” interactive sticker prompting others to do the same.

The post started trending on Instagram and up to 4.1 million users shared a picture thinking they were helping the environment. Everyone started wondering who was behind all this and how they were going to plant so many trees?

Is the 'plant 1 tree for every pet picture' Instagram trend a scam?

You might be wondering whether those trees will ever get planted and the answer is, probably not!

Turns out it takes more than a cute photo of a puppy to resist deforestation.

It was discovered that an Instagram account called Plant A Tree Co. made the original post. However, they quickly deleted their image, claiming they didn’t have the resources nor the capability to plant so many trees.

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"We immediately realized 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." 

Plant A Tree Co. is a Florida based company. 

Plant A Tree Co. states that they plant trees for every necklace they sell. However, they recently removed any kind of store for necklaces from their website.

Their website mentions a couple of fundraisers they have donated to and that they have planted 6500 trees till now with the goal to plant 1 billion trees by 2030. Other than that, there is no information about where the company is based or anything about them. 

The Instagram trend is now being criticized.

The “We’ll plant 1 tree for every pet picture” has been accused by many to be a scam. Many think it is just a means for publicity.

In the Instagram post, Plant A Tree Co. mentioned how they realized the impact this post made and wanted to start a fundraiser for the non-profit organization, Trees For The Future.

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“We want to use this awareness for lasting impact, so we created this fundraiser. It is raising money towards @treesforthefuture which is an organization that we love, who is dedicated to planting trees.” 

However, later in an Instagram story, Trees For The Future posted that they were not affiliated with Plant A Tree Co. in any way and insisted that people make donations directly to them.

They also mentioned to VICE that “When the fundraiser came to our attention, we immediately reached out to the group asking them to clarify the nature of the fundraiser and we reported the post to Instagram.”

This has happened before.

Apparently, this isn’t the first time Plant A Tree Co. has been accused of deceiving people. They have created similar fundraisers in the past during the Australian bushfires & black lives matter movement.

Zack Saadioui, the founder of the company has commented on the issue saying "There have been a lot of accusations about Plant A Tree Co. and I understand where they're coming from, as we have made unintentional mistakes in the past.” 

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Sanika Nalgirkar, M.F.A. is a writer and an Editorial Intern at YourTango who writes on entertainment & news, lifestyle, and pop culture topics.

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