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APA Format Style Guide: Social Media

This guide will assist you in writing research papers using the American Psychological Association (APA) Style. It will help explain formatting your paper as well as proper citation for various resources.

Basic Citation

Information about citing social media can be found in section 10.15 of the APA Publication Manual.

Cite only original content from social media sites.  If you find a link via social media to a blog or other content, cite the primary source not the social media where you originally found the link.  

Do not alter the spelling or capitalization of a social media reference.  Retain the original spelling and capitalization, as well as any hashtags or links.  Replicate emojis if possible.  If you are not able to replicate the emoji, include the emoji's name in square brackets, for example "[face with tears of joy emoji]." A full list of emoji names can be found at the Unicode Consortium's website (  Count an emoji as one word when calculating word count.

Author Date Title Source - Social Media Site Name Source - URL

Twitter and instagram:

Author, A.A. [@username].

Name of Group [@username].

Facebook and others:

Author, A.A.

Name of Group.

Name of Group [Username].



(2019, August 8).

Content of the post up to the first 20 words.

Content of the post up to the first 20 words [Description of audiovisuals].

[Description of audiovisuals].

Site Name.


Retrieved August 27, 2020, from https://xxxx


Social Media

Remember to indent the second and following lines when writing your reference list entries!


APA Education [@APAEducation]. (2018, June 29). College students are forming mental-health clubs -- and they're making a difference @washingtonpost [Thumbnail with link attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.

Badlands National Park [@BadlandsNPS]. (2018, February 26). Biologists have identified more than 400 different plant species growing in @BadlandsNPS #DYK #biodiversity [Tweet]. Twitter.

White, B. [@BettyMWhite]. (2018, June 21). I treasure every minute we spent together #koko [Image attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.

  • Parenthetical Citations: (APA Education, 2018); (Badlands National Park, 2018); (White, 2018)
  • Narrative Citations: APA Education (2018); Badlands National Park (2018); White (2018)

Twitter Profile

APA Style [@APA_Style]. (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter profile]. Twitter. Retrieved November 1, 2019, from

  • Parenthetical Citations: (APA Style, nd.)
  • Narrative Citations: APA Style (n.d.)

Facebook Post

Gaiman, N. (2018, March 22). 100,000+ Rohingya refugees could be at serious risk during Bangladesh's monsoon season. My fellow UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett is [Image attached] [Status update]. Facebook.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2018, November 28). Suicide affects all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities.Check out these 5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain [Infographic]. Facebook.

News from Science. (2018, June 26). These frogs will walk instead of hop: [Video]. Facebook.

  • Parenthetical Citations: (Gaiman, 2018); (National Institute of Mental Health, 2018); (News from Science, 2018)
  • Narrative Citations: Gaiman (2018); National Institute of Mental Health (2018); News from Science (2018)

Facebook Page

Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. (n.d.). Home [Facebook page]. Facebook. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from

  • Parenthetical Citations: (Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, n.d.)
  • Narrative Citations: Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (n.d.)

Instagram Photo or Video

Zeitz MOCAA [@zeitzmocaa]. (2018, November 26). Grade 6 learners from Parkfields Primary School in Hanover Park visited the museum for a tour and workshop hosted by [Photographs]. Instagram.

  • Parenthetical Citations: (Zeitz MOCAA, 2018)
  • Narrative Citations: Zeitz MOCAA (2018)

Instagram Highlight

The New York Public Library [@nypl]. (n.d.). The raven [Highlight]. Instagram. Retrieved April 16, 2019, from

  • Parenthetical Citations: (New York Public Library, n.d.)
  • Narrative Citations: New York Public Library (n.d.)

Online Forum Post

National Aeronautics and Space Administration [nasa]. (2018, September 12). I'm NASA astronaut Scott Tingle. Ask me anything about adjusting to being back on Earth after my first spaceflight! [Online forum post]. Reddit.

  • Parenthetical Citations: (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2018)
  • Narrative Citations: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (2018)


  • Capitalize only the first word in the document title and any proper nouns.  If there is a colon in the title (a subtitle), capitalize only the first word after the colon and any proper nouns.
  • Alphabetize your reference list by the first word of the citation, usually the author's last name.  If there is no author, alphabetize by the first main word in the title, ignoring "a," "an," or "the."
  • Double space all of the citations on your reference list.
  • Indent the second and following lines of the citation 5 to 7 spaces.