The FA did not identify the posting in question, but reports suggested it concerned a tweet in which Ferdinand had referred to the mother of another Twitter user as a “sket” — a derogatory slang term for a promiscuous woman.
“Queens Park Rangers defender Rio Ferdinand has been charged by The FA for misconduct in relation to a comment he made via social media,” the FA said in a statement on its website.
“It is alleged the comment posted on his Twitter account was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper. It is further alleged that this breach is aggravated pursuant to FA Rule E3(2) as it included a reference to gender.”
Ferdinand, 35, has until October 21 to respond to the charge.
A Twitter user provoked the tweet that appears to have landed Ferdinand in hot water by sending him a teasing message on transfer deadline day that said: “Maybe QPR will sign a good CB (centre-back) they need one.”
Ferdinand replied: “get ya mum in, plays the field well son! #sket.”
Former Manchester United defender Ferdinand, who won 81 caps for England, is a member of a commission set up by FA chairman Greg Dyke to investigate how to improve English football.
He has over 5.9 million followers on Twitter and is a prolific user of the social networking website.