What is a emoticon?

Symbols created using ASCII characters which initially represented a human face and expressed an emotion. Examples of emoticons are the smiley and sad faces created using a colon/semi-colon, dash, and bracket: :-), ;-), or :-(, which need to be read sideways. They should not be confused with emojis, although they are widely interchangeable, given that some applications and services transform the sequence of characters into images.

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