This week, Sweethearts Candies, a product of Spangler Candy Company, is sending a "sweet-and-desist" open letter to all social media platforms cheekily requesting discontinuation of the use of the heart as a "like" button. The message states that the like button has lost its meaning and that Sweethearts is going to reinstate the value of sharing "like" with the world.

"The word 'like' used to really mean something before Big Tech companies got their hands on it. Or in this case, their fingers," said Kirk Vashaw, CEO of Spangler Candy Company, Sweethearts' family-owned parent company. "For once, we won't sugarcoat it. The 'like button' isn't living up to its name."

The "sweet-and-desist" suggests a new button that better describes what people mean when they tap it, including a "heard" button, a "seen" button, and a "cool story bro" button, among others.

The message kicks off a social media movement by Sweethearts based on survey data the brand collected that found that 78% of Gen Z respondents would rather get an actual Sweethearts candy heart from a friend or loved one in real life (IRL) than a digital heart on a social media post. 83% say getting a real-life "like" in the form of a candy heart expresses affection more.

The iconic, 121-year-old candy brand, Sweethearts Candies, which was acquired by Spangler in 2018 and re-released in 2020, launching an expanded social media presence this Valentine's season on Instagram and TikTok to spread its message of sharing IRL "likes" by giving Sweethearts—the original "like"—to loved ones.

"We like social media as much as the next family-owned candy company," said Vashaw. "But what we don't like is when it ruins 'like' for the rest of us."

For more information about Sweethearts' IRL Like Movement, visit