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Tweet-to-buy? American Express says yes

NEW YORK (AP) -- A new program from American Express lets Twitter users post special hashtags to buy gift cards and things like Xbox 360 gaming consoles or a Kindle Fire HD from Amazon.

The credit card issuer said Monday that holders of eligible American Express cards will first have to link their cards with their Twitter accounts. Then they can tweet special hashtags, such as "BuyAmexGiftCard25," wait for a confirmation from Amex and re-tweet the confirmation within 15 minutes to make the purchase. The extra step is there to help make sure that people don't accidentally buy things with one Tweet.

Once the tweet is sent, the products are sent to the cardholder's billing address, the company said.

On the safety front, American Express said people's credit card information is not shared with Twitter or merchants, so even if hackers gain access to someone's Twitter account they won't be able to get their credit card information.

Leslie Berland, senior vice president of digital partnerships and development at the American Express, said the company has been "going very deep into social commerce" over the past couple of years. But past efforts have focused on discount offers, not actual purchases through Twitter.

Amex customers can buy gift cards starting Monday and other items beginning on Wednesday.