Facebook Look Back: father’s emotional appeal to Mark Zuckerberg for dead son’s retrospective film receives ‘overwhelming’ response

John Berlin’s video message to the social media site has been viewed more than half a million times in a single day – provoking action from Facebook itself

Click to follow
The Independent US

A father has issued a heartbreaking appeal to Facebook asking for his dead son’s, one-minute Look Back retrospective video – and received an “overwhelming” response.

In a message he filmed himself and posted to YouTube yesterday, John Berlin from St Louis, Missouri said “he just didn’t know what to do anymore” after repeated efforts to contact the social media site.

Facebook has marked its 10th birthday by setting up an application which produces personalised films for each user. The 62-second “look back” video notes the year a user joined and shows a selections of most-liked posts and photos, set to instrumental music.

Yet Mr Berlin said his 21-year-old son Jesse died suddenly of natural causes on 28 January 2012, and with Facebook’s policy of removing a person’s account once their death has been verified, he can no longer access his son’s account.

In the video, an emotional Mr Berlin says: “I’m calling out to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. You’ve been putting out these new movies – these one-minute movies that everyone has been sharing, and I think they’re great.

“My son passed away January 28 2012, and we can't access his Facebook account. I've tried emailing different things but it ain't working. All we wanna 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.”

Mr Berlin’s appeal has since been viewed more than 550,000 times, and shared widely across social media sites. In a recent update on YouTube, the father thanked everyone for the “overwhelming response” – and said that the message seemed to have got through.

“We just wanted to see a one minute vid,” Mr Berlin wrote. “We’re going to get that vid.  FB (Facebook) contacted us and they’re going to work on that vid.

“I want to thank everyone, for your support.  I didn't know what to expect from this but it was worth a try.  My son was 21 and died of natural causes, his autopsy came back undetermined.  He is proof that there are no guarantees in life.  Hug your children kiss them. Tell them you love them every single day. Again I thank every single one of you, even the dislikes. God Bless.”

To see your Look Back video, go to Facebook.com/lookback.