Our Insights

Thought Leadership and Industry Trends

Home 9 Insights 9 Widget Wonderland: Streamlining Review of Short Message Data for Investigations 

Widget Wonderland: Streamlining Review of Short Message Data for Investigations 

Feb 2, 2023

Over the past several years, the use of short message communications platforms in Enterprise collaboration has increased exponentially. The global pandemic in 2020 dramatically accelerated the usage of collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams and Slack to streamline internal communications among an increasingly remote workforce. The primary method of businesses communication has moved from an email-centric methodology to more convenient chat formats.

While new communication methods have many benefits for employee collaboration, these new and emerging message formats also present unique challenges to courts, eDiscovery practitioners and internal compliance teams tasked with running investigations. Fortunately, advanced data visualizations can be used to streamline the review of short message content data for investigative purposes.

Preserving, Categorizing and Searching Emojis

Emojis have come a long way from their text-based emoticon ancestors. In pre-emoji times, most people used a simple text combination of colon + parentheses to add a smiley face in emails. Today, nearly every short message collaboration platform provides huge catalogs of full color emojis capable of conveying everything from simple concepts to complex human emotions.

Emojis are increasingly widespread in business communications. However, reviewing emojis presents many challenges, such as the proper preservation, display, organization, and interpretation of short message content data containing emojis. The strategic use of an emoji or grouping of emojis can change the entire meaning of a conversation, making the ability to properly preserve, display, and search this unique data type critical.

CDS Convert was designed to capture and convert chat data content for review, including data types like emojis unique to short message communications. CDS Vision goes one step further by providing powerful visualizations for categorizing and searching emojis based on their grouping, sub-grouping, and Unicode description.

Emoji charts for CDS Vision

Emoji reports by Group and Subgroup

Following Conversations Across Time and Platforms

Employees have a myriad of communication options available to them to enhance productivity. Unfortunately, these options make it more challenging to spot and stop bad actors. For instance, an employee may write a note via email to switch to Teams, and then on Teams ask to switch to text to hide nefarious communications.  Conversations often span several different communications platforms over the course of a day, with an email request that results in a group chat and file share followed by a subsequent text to close the loop. As a result, It has become more and more challenging to track internal communications across multiple platforms over time, and a simple email collection may prove incomplete without additional short message data collections.

CDS Vision provides the ability to visualize email and short message communications over time and across platforms. This system can spot suspicious behavior of custodians jumping from one communication modality to another on the same day or during off hours and weekends.

RSMF Data Type by Sort Date Time

RSMF Data Type by Sort Date/Time

Flagging Sensitive Communications

While the immediacy of information and feedback from participants related to short message communications is beneficial, one negative consequence is the increased use of informal language in business communications. Moving from paper memos and transmittals to email and chat has increased productivity while sacrificing some of the professionalism in more formal communications. For example, it’s much more likely to see profanity or other inappropriate communications via short message content data than in more formal email communications that can be easily shared and forwarded.

CDS Vision offers a proprietary sensitive term filter containing a library of the top terms that are flagged inappropriate by large social media platforms. Categories include discriminatory content, sexual content, drug and alcohol references, etc. Messages also tend to contain text shorthand like “lol” or “WTH” meant to convey words or phrases CDS Vision has also been designed to identify.

Sensitive Terms

Sensitive Terms Widget

For more information about CDS Vision Analysis + Automation Suite, please visit the CDS Vision page or contact us directly at .

About the Author

<a href="https://cdslegal.com/team/michael-milicevic-esq/" target="_blank">Michael Milicevic, Esq.</a>

Michael Milicevic, Esq.

In his role at CDS, Michael oversees all Midwest operations including support of enterprise law firm and corporate relationships. He has over 10 years of eDiscovery and legal experience and has worked on multiple large matters for a variety of clients, including Am Law 100 firms, global financial services organizations, and multi-national manufacturers. In his time with CDS, he has overseen challenging eDiscovery matters including second requests, international government proceedings, and intellectual property disputes. Michael is a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois.