Instagram’s ‘We’ll plant 1 tree for every pet pic sticker’ is trending — what’s it all about?

If you have opened the Instagram app in the last few hours, you’ve likely seen people you follow sharing photos of their pets, with a sticker that says someone will plant a tree for every pet pic shared.

At the latest count, the pet photos shared on Instagram stories using that sticker are up to nearly 2.5 million – but that number will be outdated by the time I finish writing this article in a few minutes.

Look, we are all for people posting photos of their pets. In fact, that should be seen as one of the most fundamental, canonical uses of social media. But we have become deeply intrigued by this mysterious entity offering to plant a tree for every photo of a pet shared on Instagram.

Where are these millions of trees going to be planted and who will be planting them?

Clicking on the sticker itself will give you absolutely no information on who’s behind this viral trend. Is it Instagram itself? No one really knows.

Is it just a viral participation trend that doesn’t really do any harm but doesn’t really do any good (let’s face it, it’s highly likely no one will plant a tree because you posted a photo of your pet online – although please, by all means, continue to share photos of your pet)?

It’s been a few hours and the mystery continues.

A post shared by NZ Lockdown Memes (@nzlockdownmemes)

A number of websites have also, in the last few hours, tried to do what we’re doing right now, which is trying to get to the bottom of this viral trend.

Searching for the trend on Google will lead you to a number of weird YouTube links that, rather than explain what the fresh heck is going on, simply tell you how to upload a photo of your pet using the sticker. In the comments for those videos, as well as across social media, thousands of people ask the same thing: what is going on? Who started this? Who’s planting these trees?

The answer to the first two questions is a bit too metaphysical for this time of the day but as for “who’s planting these trees” the answer is very likely quite simple: no one.

If a corporation was behind something like this, they’d want to get all the publicity they could get for it. Let’s face it: it does not get more wholesome than pet photos and tree planting so who would not want to claim credit for that, if it were true.

So, the mystery remains. Will anyone be planting those trees? Highly unlikely. The trend is probably just a viral participation thing and there will not be a forest of millions of trees planted because you shared a photo of your pet.

However, please do not let that stop you from sharing your animal’s sweet, sweet face. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, this article will sit alongside a heap of bad news today, we need all the pet photos we can get just to help us get through today.

The Herald contacted Instagram to ask for details on what exactly is going on but is still waiting to hear back.

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