When was the last time you worked on a case involving information gathered from social media or text messages? Chances are, not that long ago. As communications mediums change, so, too, do the types of evidence that we present in court. However, it is getting harder to keep up with these new forms of communication and the nuances they entail.
As mobile communications started to include shorter, text-based messages, a need for a way to add emotional context to these words became necessary. For this reason, emojis have become a central part of texting and social media communications. These tiny pictographs are frequently used to communicate emotions and thus quickly convey meaning in a single character that would otherwise require multiple words or phrases. That means they have become important in litigation as well.
It is becoming increasingly common to see social media posts and texts appear in discovery. Because of this, and the electronic nature of these communications, e-discovery tools are often used to store and track this evidence. However, many e-discovery tools cannot search emojis.
Since emojis can often provide critical context for text and social media evidence, being able to find the evidence you need with the right emoji content can be important. Some e-discovery tools are beginning to recognize this problem and are adding this functionality to their software, but they are running into another problem as they develop solutions.
Emojis can often be proprietary depending on the platform in which the emoji is used. That means that even if you had a keyboard with emojis programmed into it, the tool may only work on certain platforms and not on others. You would need a keyboard for Facebook emojis, and a keyboard for Instagram emojis, and a keyboard for Google emojis, etc.
Though emojis may be increasingly important from an evidentiary standpoint, the technology to search them is not there yet. This means manual review of evidence that includes emojis may be necessary for the foreseeable future.
This state of the legal tech industry was brought to you by the IT Professionals at Exactify.IT—where you go when you want to spend more time on the law, and less time on the technology you use to practice it.