Citing websites, social media & other online content: MLA (9th ed.) citation guide


This guide is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 9th ed. and provides selected citation examples for common types of sources.

For more detailed information, please consult the full manual: available in print and online.

See section 5.31-5.36 (pages 138-144) of the Handbook for more information and examples of citing various online resources.



When citing websites, social media and online content, recall the MLA core elements. Whether it is a tweet, Instagram post, TikTok video, recipe blog or something else, keep the core elements in mind and focus on what would be the title of the piece, the author, and what may be additional relevant information (e.g. containers). Include date of publication, if relevant and available. If you need more guidance, just ask us.

Note: it is recommended that you include "date of access" in your citations, since online material is often edited, changed or removed. 

In-text citations for social media are created as usual, using the author’s name or the title if there is no known author. Social media rarely has page numbers, paragraph numbers or section headings, so this information is left out of the in-text citation.

For more on citing social media, please see the MLA's post on Citing material posted on social media platforms.


  • There is no one way to cite a website; we are actually citing the content we have found on that website.
  • The website and/or URL are likely a container, or a location.
  • The content of what you are citing is where you will find the title, author, contributors, etc.
  • If you are citing any of the following, and you found it on a website, refer to the relevant section of the guide for the relevant material: article, e-book, dictionary entry found online, non-social media image, film, or podcast.


  • You can usually omit the http:// part of a URL unless you are creating a document where you wish the URL to be a clickable hyperlink (note, in some cases the URL will still work without http:// but not always) (195).
  • If a URL runs more than three full lines or is longer than the rest of the entry, truncate it (196). Avoid citing URLs produced by shortening services (like
  • See pages 195-96 (sections 5.95-5.98) in the Handbook for more on URLs 


  • If a work was found via an app, this should be noted at the end of the citation (e.g TikTok app) in place of a URL.
  • It is better to find a version of the content that has a URL attached (e.g. find an episode of a show on Netflix through a web browser rather than in the Netflix App) but this is not always possible.
  • If a work is found via a social media site in a browser, the site is listed as a container (italicized), and the URL is placed at the end, before the access date.
  • Please see the images section for examples of citations for apps versus material found via web browser.

See Citing audiovisual materials for more on citing apps. 


  • In the author field of your works cited entry, place the handle of the creator in square brackets (preceded by the @ symbol), after the author’s name, and before the period (326).
  • When the author’s name and the handle are very similar, you may omit the handle.
  • For tweets, the entire tweet with original punctuation/capitalization is recreated within the title field.
  • Facebook posts can be lengthy; describe the post instead of re-posting its content.

Works cited for a tweet:

Karfa, Resham [@reshamkarfa] “Which book would you prefer to read: a unique story that's well written, or a common story that is superbly written?” Twitter, 24 Oct. 2022, 6:50 p.m.,

In this next example, the author is How to Save a Planet, and their handle is @how2saveaplanet. The author and handle are very similar, so the handle is omitted:

How to Save a Planet. “A well manicured lawn can require a lot of time & water. Turf, on the other hand, doesn’t need any water, but is it really the better option? On this week's episode of #How2SaveAPlanet we’re exploring the environmental & sociological impact of lawns.” Twitter, 8 Sept. 2022, 3:14 p.m., Accessed 26 Oct. 2022.


For images found on social media, create a short description to be included after the author and handle (if including one). Use normal formatting, i.e. no quotation marks or italics.

Works cited for an image viewed in an app

Museum of Anthropology [@moa_ubc]. Image of a person in a pink coat viewing a Haida totem pole inside the Museum of Anthropology. 10 Aug 2022, Instagram app.

An image viewed online

Note: The Instagram handle [@bikekitchenubc] was omitted because it is very similar to the name of the shop (i.e. the author).

The Bike Kitchen. Image of a storage room filled with bicycles. Instagram, 7 Oct. 2022,

See Citing tables & figures for more on citing images.