Social media — APA 6th edition

The 7th edition of APA was published in October 2019. Some departments and lecturers may still be using the 6th edition. Ask your lecturer or supervisor if you are unsure which edition to use.

If you paraphrase or quote information from social media, provide an in-text citation (author and date) and a reference list entry.

General format

Author (year, month day). Title [format]. Retrieved from https://www...


  • Include either the author’s last name and initials or the corporate author name.
  • Provide any social media identity information in square brackets after the name (see Instagram and Twitter examples below).


  • Give the year, month and day for items that have a specific date, otherwise provide just the year.
  • If the date is not known, use n.d. (for no date) in round brackets, e.g. (n.d.). If the date is unknown but can be approximated use “ca.” (for circa) followed by the approximated year in square brackets, e.g. [ca. 2017]. If you use either n.d. or ca., you will need also to include the date you retrieved the information (see Christchurch City Council example below).


  • Put the name of the page or the caption of the post as the title. If there is no caption or title on the post, use the first few words of the post.
  • Do not put the title in italics unless it is a stand alone item like a report.
  • Put the format after the title in square brackets, e.g. [Facebook status update], [Instagram photograph], [Tweet].


  • Provide a URL that goes as directly as possible to the content (click the Facebook or Instagram post date to access its direct URL)

Facebook examples

Christchurch City Council. (n.d.). About Christchurch City Council [Facebook page]. Retrieved March 5, 2017, from

New Zealand Red Cross. (2017, March 16). More than 20 million people in Nigeria [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from

Ministry of Education. (2017, March 16). Canterbury’s brand new Lemonwood Grove School [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from

Instagram examples

University of Canterbury Lib [@uclibrary]. (2018, November 27). UC’s architectural drawings declared a national heritage treasure! Housed at the Macmillan Brown Library, the Armson Collins Architectural Drawings Collection been announced as one of the new inscriptions to the Memory of the World New Zealand documentary heritage register at [Instagram photograph]. Retrieved from

University of Canterbury Lib [@uclibrary]. (n.d.). Posts, followers, following [Instagram profile]. Retrieved from

  • In-text citations: (University of Canterbury Lib, 2018) and (University of Canterbury Lib, n.d.); if combined in one citation (University of Canterbury Lib, n.d., 2018).
  • See How to Cite Instagram in APA Style on the APA Style Blog for guidance on finding details needed for Instragram references.

Twitter examples

Trump, D. J. [realDonaldTrump]. (2017, March 7). I am working on a new system where there will be competition in the drug industry [Tweet]. Retrieved from

Ministry of Health [minhealthnz]. (2017, April 3). Typhoid [Tweet]. Retrieved from

More information