Facebook plans to double its staff in Ireland over the next 12 months.

The announcement came as the social networking giant opened a new headquarters in Dublin this week.

The center will oversee operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Facebook Chief financial officer David Ebersman said the Irish workforce was a crucial factor in the company's decision to locate the center in Dublin.

“Ireland was really the best choice for us for lots of reasons, the workforce being top of the list,” he said.

Director of online operations Colm Long said Facebook had seen an "exceptional" explosion of growth in the Irish market.

“There are over one million active users – people who have used the website in the last 30 days – of Facebook in Ireland, which represents a quarter of the population."

Facebook plans to double its staff, from about 70, to 140 over the coming year.