In the last month, the hashtag #ChallengeAccepted has picked up speed on Instagram. People post photos of themselves, often in black and white, with the caption "Challenge accepted" and the hashtag. Then, they tag their friends in the comments and encourage them to do the same.

This social media trend is the latest of viral Instagram "challenges" that has picked up speed with International Women's Day and the global covid-19 crisis. Originally, the challenge started to raise awareness about cancer. People were encouraged to post grayscale photos with the hashtag #challengeacceptedblackandwhite to fill up social media feeds with support for cancer patience and researchers.

Instagram post from @yara in Beirut

In recent weeks, however, the #challengeAccepted hashtag has morphed in different communities into something different. People of every age, nationality, and situation are posting selfie photos on Instagram, sometimes in black and white and sometimes in full color. Most of the time, people post with no caption at all other than the #challengeAccepted hashtag. Here's a sample from the latest posts:

The #challengeAccepted hashtag, with more than 1.5M posts, corresponds to three trends:

  • Sometimes people are referring to posting an ugly picture of themselves. In this case, the accepted challenge is putting up a photo of yourself that you don't like or think is unattractive. Often, the "challenge" is that you keep the photo up longer if you get more likes on the photo, so many posts will say "Don't like this!" so that the creator can take it down sooner. The #24hourchallenge, #24hours, or #24h means that the photo must stay up for 24 hours. This cringey photo trend is also called the "until tomorrow" challenge. The photos often feature a distorted Instagram Story or Snapchat face filter.

  • In the tailwind of the 2020 International Women's Day, some people have picked up the hashtag as an awareness campaign for strong or inspiring women. The caption often reads something like this: "Too often, some women find it easier to criticize each other or themselves instead of building each other up. With all the negativity going around, let's do something positive! Upload 1 picture of yourself...ONLY YOU. Then tag 10 more women to do the same." There are some men who are spreading a similar message, but for men.

  • Others have used the hashtag to show their support for the quarantine measures meant to limit the spread of coronavirus. It often appears with the hashtag #stayathome

As more of the world goes under quarantine, there are also new at-home physical challenges popping up on Instagram. People are encouraging their friends to keep moving and to stay active despite taking shelter at home.

The #10for10 challenge, for example, asks people to do 10 pushups, then nominate 10 friends by tagging them in the post. Others include yoga, gymnastics, and cleaning challenges. However, #challengeAccepted generally does not refer to one of these physical challenges.

Recent #10for10 posts

Of course, it might be that someone tags their Instagram image or video post with #challengeAccepted with no intention of joining a global movement. They may just use the phrase "challenge accepted" in their caption as a normal term of art like any other phrase.

How to Make Your Own Instagram Challenge Accepted Post

Step 1: Decide on the cause

The #ChallengeAccepted hashtag refers to several different causes: cancer awareness, women's strength, stay inside advocacy, and silly 24 hours photos. The first step is to decide or figure out which "challenge" you're participating in. If you've been tagged by a friend, try to decipher which challenge they're referring to. You can DM them if you're confused!

Or you can also start you own challenge by writing a long instagram caption and tagging lots of friends to kick it off! Remind them to add #challengeAccepted to their post and to nominate another friend. Here's an example of someone who started their own at-home challenge:

View this post on Instagram

Hi, 👋 we have a little challenge for you to do. ✅ Insert your 📸photos with the sign of ♾infinity on relationships and posts and tag #infinitychallenge . You can use our suggestions or create your own. We encourage you to have 🥳fun together and 📩share this challenge! 💟 . . Hej, 👋mamy dla was mały challenge do wykonania.✅ Wstawiajcie swoje 📸zdjęcia ze znakiem ♾nieskończoności na relacje i posty i oznaczajcie je tagiem #infinitychallenge. Możecie wykorzystać nasze propozycje albo stworzyć swoje własne. Zachęcamy do wspólnej 🥳zabawy i udostępniania tego 📩challengu.💟 ___________________________________________ #infinitychallenge #duoinfinity #acroduo #acrogirls #polishgirls #challengeaccepted #challenge #acro #infinity #loveacro #acrobatics #stayhome #stayhomechallenge #sharethispost #training

A post shared by Duo Infinity (@_duo_infinity) on

Step 2: Take a photo

Take or find a photo of your face that fits the cause. Most of the posted photos are solo photos with just one person and no one else in the frame.

[Optional] Step 3: Make black and white

About 25% of challenge accepted photos are made black and white. To make your photo black and white, upload it to Kapwing.com (a free photo editing website). Click the layer and "Edit layer," then use the Adjust button to remove all saturation from the photo. Just drag the white slider under "Saturation" down to 0. You can also increase the brightness and contrast of your photo, if you want to.

Screenshot of the "Adjust" tool in Kapwing's Studio

Kapwing is a free website and works on both phones and computers. Click Publish to save the final black and white photo.

Step 4: Post on Instagram with a caption

The last step is to upload your photo to Instagram. Make sure to include the caption #challengeAccepted and to tag between 1-10 friends to pass the challenge on to.

That's how you can participate in the 2020 #ChallengeAccepted on Instagram! We hope that this post helps you navigate what the challenge is, where it came from, and how to get involved. Thanks for reading.

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