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Amazon launches Spark, a social network for its shoppers

Spark encourages users to tag images, stories and ideas about products they like -- with links, of course.

Amazon Spark users are encouraged to tag images of products that are available for sale on the internet giant.

Amazon is getting into the social media game, but this network is more about shopping than sharing pictures of your kids or latest meal.

Dubbed Spark, the new Instagram-like feature encourages Amazon customers to post images, stories and ideas about products they like. Other users can then react to the posts with comments and "smiles," much as one would "Like" a Facebook post.

"Whether you're looking for inspiration for home décor or seeking advice for the best long-distance running shoes, Spark makes it easy to discover -- and shop -- stories and ideas from a community that likes what you like," Amazon said in an introduction to the service.

The move comes at a time when retailers are competing more fiercely for content and consumers' cash.

The service also encourages users to tag products featured in their posts if they are available on Amazon, allowing others users to purchase the products by tapping on the image.

The feature, which debuted Tuesday on Amazon's iOS app, is currently available only to Amazon's premium-paying Prime members in the US. Non-Prime members can peruse Spark feeds but can't post or comment.

Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for further comment.

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