Facebook's "Look Back" video collages, released in honour of its 10th birthday, have made a splash on the social network. But for one family, finally watching their deceased son's video was its own celebration.
On Friday, John W Berlin II, a personal trainer in Missouri, posted his son Jesse's official "A Look Back" video (pictured), with a message of thanks to everyone who supported his efforts to make it happen.
"From the bottom of my heart and everything that I am, I thank you Facebook," he added.
Berlin made headlines last week when he reached out to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team, asking the company to release his son's Jesse's "Look Back" video more than two years after his death.
"All we want to do is see his movie. That's it," Berlin said in a teary video he posted to Facebook. "I know it's a shot in the dark, but I don't care. I want to see my son's video."
A day after his appeal went viral, the grieving father announced that Facebook agreed to create his son's movie. The company also promised to take a closer look at how to better help families who have lost loved ones.
The outpouring of support didn't end with Berlin's plea: Jesse's final highlights reel earned almost 1,000 likes and more than 6,700 shares from users across the world.
"The way that I feel right now is so overwhelming. I feel so wonderful," Berlin wrote in a Facebook post. "I had no idea that my small problem would touch so many lives. I'm truly in awe. I'm so glad that all of you have joined me in this journey."
He also uploaded the video to YouTube, where it garnered more than 230,780 views and the same sense of community Facebook provided.
"Your appeal touched everybody," YouTuber Renata Tanabe wrote in a comment. "Thank you so much for sharing this video with all the world. Though it obviously was so short, Jesse's life also seemed so great."
Others shared the same sentiment, writing congratulatory and heartfelt messages, to the Berlins and Facebook.
"Have to salute Facebook for stepping up and granting your request," user Sherry Ackles said. "I was doubtful but when I discovered Zuckerberg has in fact provided you with the video you asked for—it gives me hope in the human spirit—that we can have compassion for our fellow human beings."
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Facebook last week celebrated its first full decade with the launch of its "Look Back" videos—makeshift home movies showcasing users' first moments, most liked posts, and shared photos through the years.