A company by the name of Plant A Tree Co. has claimed that it was the mastermind behind the ‘we’ll plant one tree for every pet pic’ trend, but they may not be everything they say they are. Oh, how the plot thickens.

In a recent Instagram post, Plant A Tree Co. has raised its hand to say that it was the company that promised to plant all those trees in exchange for cute pictures of your pet.

It claims that 10 minutes after creating the ‘Add Yours’ sticker on Instagram, it deleted it, but Instagram kept up the domino effect, leading the post to gain more and more worldwide popularity.

This would explain why the feature doesn’t tell you who created it, leaving many people around the globe confused as to who was offering to plant these trees.

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

“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.”

Share this post, talk about us on Instagram, give a bit of money to a fundraiser. It all sounds like a simple set of steps, but the thing is, Plant A Tree Co. has a history of shady online tactics and broken promises.

First off, we can confirm that the company’s claims of Instagram hiding it as the original creator are kind of true. There’s no actual way of confirming whether or not Plant A Tree Co. was behind this trend like it claims to be, but a spokesperson for the Facebook company (which owns Insta) has said that they’ll be working on this issue of transparency in the future.

“‘Add Yours’ stickers will show the original author when you tap on them, except in some cases where the author deletes their original post or if their account is private. We are working on improving transparency in cases like these,” a spokesperson told PEDESTRIAN.TV.

So yeah, Plant A Tree Co. could very well have deleted the post and ended up in this position, but so could any company.

Alternative evidence, however, suggests that this isn’t the first time Plant A Tree Co. has been called out for creating trends with false promises attached to them.

An article written in early 2020 by Odyssey claims that Plant A Tree Co. is, in fact, a scam. Hell, even ‘Fake Website Buster’ lists the site as a likely scam site.

Apparently, Plant A Tree Co. promised to plant “100 trees” for every repost of a since-deleted Instagram pic in 2019, then in 2020 they posted a picture of a kangaroo during the Australian bushfires, and promised to give a dollar to the NSW Rural Fire Service for everyone who shared it. The kangaroo pic gained 2 million likes, but has also been deleted.

Odyssey claims that Plant A Tree Co. have done similar things after the death of George Floyd in America, promoting graphic posts in order to raise money for Black Lives Matter causes. The company has also allegedly performed a similar social media campaign for Stop Asian Hate causes. The catch is, for your donations to ‘count’, you have to follow the account. It’s shady as hell.

However, the website for Plant A Tree Co. does not provide any details of who is running the company, where they are based or what they do. All the group has to show is a series of bracelets that it sells, with claims that proceeds go to different causes.

“It is mentioned on the website that they plant a tree through partners for every completed purchase. There is no information on who these partners are and neither is there any proof that they have donated towards this cause,” writes Fake Website Buster.

“There is also no evidence that they have donated to organisations that do charity work for the Australian bushfires or the African-American community, as claimed on their Instagram page.

“PlantATreeCo does ‘free’ giveaways for necklaces. There is no mention of the proceeds from these sales going towards charity. Yes, they do generate revenue from these necklaces, because even though the giveaway is supposedly free, there is an $8.95 shipping fee that is added at checkout.”

And guess what the company is doing right now? A free necklace and bracelet giveaway.

So yeah, looks like what started as a simple Instagram trend has blown way out of proportion into a possible major scam operation. Fkn wild.