Social media post: how to cite in APA (7th ed.)?

Create a spot-on reference in APA 7 and 6

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General rules

Social media posts are not academic sources but they can still add valuable data to your research. To cite a social media post in APA Style (7th ed.), use the following bibliographic reference template:

Author’s name [unique nickname]. (Date). First 20 words of the post [Post type]. Website. URL

Note the following particularities:

  • Put the ‘at’ sign (‘@’) before the author’s unique nickname, e.g. ‘@grafiati’.
  • For the social networks Facebook and LinkedIn, omit the unique nickname element.
  • In place of the title, give up to 20 first words of the post. Do not alter the text of the post: the case of the words, the punctuation, and so on should remain the same as in the original post. Count the hashtags and the emojis as separate words.
  • In the Post type element, specify the format of the post, e.g. ‘Status update’ (for Facebook), ‘Tweet’ (for Twitter), etc. In addition, specify the format of the media files attached: image, video, audio, etc. (see the examples below).
  • In the Website field, give the name of the social network where the post was published.
  • For the posts susceptible to change often (for example, for the highlights on Instagram), give the date retrieved (see the examples below).

Refer to this article for the rules of giving the date retrieved in the online details in APA Style (7th ed.).

How to cite social media posts automatically

The web service Grafiati allows generating the bibliographic references to any social media posts online in accordance with the requirements of APA and other citation styles.

You can cite automatically the posts from Twitter (tweets, moments), Tumblr, and TikTok by simply pasting the post’s URL: we will fill in all the data and will generate the correct reference. For the other social networks, you will only need to fill in several fields.

Examples of references

Twitter post (tweet)

Alonso, F. [@alo_oficial]. (2021, December 10). Hola @ymcofficial @F1 😍 [Video attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.

Mayones Guitars [@MayonesGuitars]. (2019, April 29). Mayones Regius 6 Custom Shop | Flamed Maple 5A grade top | Trans Jeans Black Gloss finish | Swamp Ash T.E.W. body wings [Tweet]. Twitter.

Facebook post

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. (2021, November 23). Calling all Lord of the Rings fans and artists! Post your art using #LOTR20 from now through 12/16 for a [Image attached] [Status update]. Facebook.

Instagram post

Stallone, S. [@officialslystallone]. (2021, December 7). For people that are into little known FACTS , here’s one. I don’t remember this gentleman‘s name but until Carl Weathers [Photograph]. Instagram.

British Museum [@britishmuseum]. (n.d.). Hokusai [Highlight]. Instagram. Retrieved December 12, 2021, from

Tumblr post

Salaün, N. [@bluecapsicum]. (2020, October 1). Inspired by this picture [Image attached] [Post]. Tumblr.

LinkedIn post

American Psychological Association. (2021, December 11). The holiday season often brings feelings of joy and warmth, but also opportunities for overspending. Here are some tips to [Thumbnail with link attached] [Post]. LinkedIn.

TikTok post

Talking_Crow [@talking_crow]. (2021, March 6). Splash Splash #worldwildlifeday #tiktokwildlifeday #fyp #foryoupage #crowtok #crowtiktok [Video]. TikTok.

Other citation styles: