No, the picture of the pet you shared on Instagram probably won't lead to a tree being planted

A pug dog looking unhappy
The company which started the viral trend doesn't have the resources to do so. Photo credit: Getty Images

If you've shared a picture of your pet on Instagram over the last few days with the promise of a tree being planted in its honour, you're likely to be left disappointed.

A sticker which said "we'll plant 1 tree for every pet picture" went viral, amassing over 4 million uses in just a short time as people flocked to share their furry friends with the world.

But the sticker didn't have any branding or state who was going to plant the trees, leaving many puzzled as to where it came from.

Now a company called Plant A Tree Co has stepped forward to say they created the original post - but deleted it quickly as they realised it didn't have the resources to plant so many trees.

"We posted the new 'Add Yours' story as a fun tree planting campaign where we can show off our awesome pets," it wrote in a new Instagram post.

"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."

Despite that, it continued to spread and, because Plant A Tree Co had deleted the original, its name was removed from the sticker leaving no context as to who was responsible.

It's now encouraging users to share its new story to fundraise for Trees For The Future, an organisation that actually plants trees, although it doesn't explain why people shouldn't donate directly rather than via Plant A Tree Co.

"We are not affiliated with Trees for the Future, we are simply raising money through this Instagram fundraiser which will directly go to them, so that they can use it to plant trees," it wrote.

It also reached out to Instagram, asking whether it would be willing to help plant 4 million trees for all the people who shared a picture.

"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."

But Instagram has distanced itself from the viral posts.

"The 'we'll plant one tree for every pet picture' trend shows the power of the Instagram community to raise awareness on important topics,” a spokesperson told The Independent.

"Like all other 'Add Yours' sticker threads, it was started by an independent Instagram account – not Instagram."

Instagram said it would work on ways to ensure clarity was offered in such situations.