What happens to your Facebook after you die?

FOX 32 NEWS - Nearly 8 in ten Americans have a social media presence whether their on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter - you name it.

Many of us plaster our pages with snapshots and selfies, and throughout most of the country, those images - or "digital assets" - belong to the social media providers after the user's death. However, that's no longer the case in Illinois.

"I try to post something three or four times a day, like today I was out at an elementary school where I was principal for a day,” said Rep. Chris Welch.

Welch has thousands of images stored on his Facebook page. Family, friends, constituents - Facebook has become his own personal viral scrapbook.

He’d never given much thought, though, about what might happen to all of his memories after his death.

"If something were to happen to me, maybe my wife would like access to those photos, you know it's no different than the old shoebox under the bed, that's there and that's easily accessible,” Welch said.

Then about a year ago, he learned that if he were to die, his photos would become the exclusive property of Facebook and that there was nothing anyone could do about it.

So, he co-wrote legislation to change that. And now, Illinois is just the 19th state in the country with a digital asset law on the books.

"What happens is I as the user designate a person that gets access to the account after I pass on, once that happens the contact can then put memorializations on the page, can say something nice about you, maybe change your profile photo,” said Alexi Madon, Director of State Government Affairs.

Welch says since Governor Rauner signed his bill into law, the response has been overwhelming.

"It's been all positive, texts messages from everywhere, you know, people excited that they can leave their selfies to someone,” Welch said.

By the way, in the result of death, Facebook says they don't take down your page, so if you don't have anybody that you want to share your memories with, you don't have to do anything. Your page lives on, even after you don't.

Because of that policy, it's estimated that by 2060, there will be more dead people on Facebook than living.