How to cite a tweet in APA Style

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

To reference a tweet in APA Style, include the author’s name and username, the date the tweet was posted, the text of the tweet in italics, “Tweet” in square brackets, “Twitter,” and the URL.

For tweets longer than 20 words, only include the first 20 in your reference.

Format Author name, Initials [@username]. (Year, Month Day). Text of tweet [Tweet]. Twitter. URL
Reference list Trump, D. J. [@realDonaldTrump]. (2020, September 28). FAKE NEWS! [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1310432401454235650
In-text citation (Trump, 2020)

Where to find the information for your citation

The information you need to cite a tweet is easy to find on the site.

Tweet source info

Author names and usernames

Write the author name in the usual inverted format, not how it appears on Twitter. If the author is an organization, list the organization in the author position. The username is always included, preceded by “@” and using the same capitalization as on the site:

Reference list American Civil Liberties Union [@ACLU]. (2020, October 20). VICTORY: Georgia will have additional dropboxes this cycle in DeKalb County. There are 14 days left until Election Day, and [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/ACLU/status/1318651204277329928
In-text citation (American Civil Liberties Union, 2020)

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Multimedia content in tweets

If the tweet contains any additional content besides words (e.g. images, video, links, polls), this should be stated in a separate set of square brackets before “[Tweet].” For example, the following tweet contains a link to an article:

American Psychological Association [@APA]. (2020, September 29). Do you know how to cite a book chapter in your work? Do you know when you should cite an [Thumbnail with link attached]. [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/APA/status/1310928070283493376

This tweet contains an image:

Gladwell, M. [@Gladwell]. (2020, September 20). Setting up my new office. . . There’s no school like old school. [Image attached]. [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/Gladwell/status/1307724693718339588

Citing a full Twitter profile

If you want to cite an entire Twitter profile rather than an individual tweet, the format is slightly different. You’ll list the year as “n.d.” (no date) and include a retrieval date, since the contents of the profile can change over time.

Reference list Pinker, S. [@sapinker]. (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter profile]. Twitter. Retrieved September 29, 2020, from https://twitter.com/sapinker
In-text citation (Pinker, n.d.)

Citing protected tweets or DMs

Some content on Twitter is private: tweets from protected accounts (accounts only accessible to approved followers) and DMs (direct messages) from any account. Because the reader won’t be able to access this content, it should be cited as personal communications.

Personal communications don’t appear in your reference list. Just refer to them in parentheses in the text, giving the date of the communication. You can specify the format (“protected tweet,” “direct message”) or just write “personal communication.”

Jonassen stated that there were no further plans for the project (direct message, July 20, 2020).

Frequently asked questions about APA Style citations

When should I include an access date in an APA citation?

APA Style usually does not require an access date. You never need to include one when citing journal articles, e-books, or other stable online sources.

However, if you are citing a website or online article that’s designed to change over time, it’s a good idea to include an access date. In this case, write it in the following format at the end of the reference: Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.uva.nl/en/about-the-uva/about-the-university/about-the-university.html

How do I cite a source with no author in APA Style?

When no individual author name is listed, but the source can clearly be attributed to a specific organization—e.g. a press release by a charity, a report by an agency, or a page from a company’s website—use the organization’s name as the author in the reference entry and in-text citations.

When no author at all can be determined—e.g. a collaboratively edited wiki or an online article published anonymously—use the title in place of the author. In the in-text citation, put the title in quotation marks if it appears in plain text in the reference list, and in italics if it appears in italics in the reference list. Shorten it if necessary.

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

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