Late last week, as I was reading about Facebook’s 10th Anniversary, an article caught my eye. (Well, if we’re being honest, it brought tears to my eyes.)
A grief-stricken father, John Berlin, posted a video to YouTube, pleading with Facebook to release its commemorative ‘Look Back’ video of his son Jesse, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 21.
After making his own ‘Look Back’ video, John was reminded of his son, whose photos would “pop up.” He then found himself “looking at Jesse’s friends’ videos just to catch a glimpse of him,” John said.
However, due to Facebook privacy restrictions, John could not access his son’s profile to create his video. Friends could post to Jesse’s page, but nothing could be done on his behalf, including the creation of the desired commemorative video.
John was moved to action, and emailed and tweeted at Facebook, trying desperately to get the company’s attention and shed light on his situation. After no response, John decided it was time to take things one step further.
“Then it just dawned on me that people post these videos and sometimes they go viral,” John said.
So with the help of a video camera, YouTube, and the social media community, John Berlin released his plea. “I’m calling out to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook,” Berlin said.
The short video shows an emotional John, obviously tormented by the loss of his son, telling Facebook “all we want to do is see his movie, that’s it. I don’t even need to get on his account. If you guys could just do it yourself, I don’t care…”
John posted the video to YouTube, asking friends and family members to share it with their communities in the hopes that it would go viral. BOY, did it ever! In less than 24 hours, the video had over 700,000 views; less than a week later, it has almost 3 million.
The real success story, however, is not the view count but the fact that Facebook recognized and answered John Berlin’s plea. A day later, John had Jesse’s ‘Look Back’ video and was able to watch it and celebrate his son.
“From the bottom of my heart and everything that I am, I thank you Facebook,” Berlin wrote in another post.
Facebook handled the situation extremely well, and has stated that it has led the company to rethink the profiles of deceased members. There is certainly an opportunity to use those profiles in a different way, perhaps share them with loved ones. It just took one man, John Berlin, to bring the issue to the company’s attention.
Kudos to you, Facebook—thank you for brightening the day of one man, and giving hope to the rest of us.