Social media

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

General format

Author (year, month day). Title [format]. Website name. 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).


  • Provide as specific a date as is available on the webpage. This might be a year only; a year and month; or a year, month, and day.
  • 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.
  • Put the title in italics.
  • Put the format after the title in square brackets, e.g. [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]. Facebook. Retrieved March 5, 2017, from

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

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

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 [Photograph]. Instagram.

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

  • Present the name of the individual or group author the same as you would for any other reference. Then provide the handle (beginning with the @ sign) in square brackets, followed by a period.
  • Provide the first 20 words of the post as the title. Count a URL, a hashtag or an emoji as one word each, and include them in the reference if they fall within the first 20 words.
  • 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 also Instagram References on the APA website.

Twitter examples

Ministry of Health [@minhealthnz]. (2017, April 3). Typhoid [Tweet]. Twitter.

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