Ireland could be in line to receive a substantial number of new jobs from social media giant Facebook, which is to create 10,000 new jobs across the EU over the next five years.
The investment is part of its plans to contribute to the building of a new computing platform based on interconnected virtual experiences using technologies like virtual and augmented reality and known as the metaverse.
The social network won't say to what extent if any Ireland will benefit from the expansion.
However, given that the company’s EMEA headquarters is in this country it is expected a portion of the roles will be based here.
"Facebook is at the start of a journey to help build the next computing platform," said Gareth Lambe, Head of Facebook Ireland.
"Facebook Ireland has played an important role in our company’s growth and success to date."
"Today’s announcement is a commitment to grow in Ireland and across Europe and in our long-term investment in European talent to help build the metaverse."
Facebook previously announced most of its employees can opt to work full time remotely from a number of European countries, if their job allows them to do so and the same policy will apply to the new recruits.
The new roles will be a mixture of in-office and remote and will include positions in engineering, product and associated business functions.
In a blog post, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice-president for global affairs and Javier Olivan, vice-president for central products, said the metaverse is based on the idea that by creating a greater sense of 'virtual presence’, interacting online can become much closer to the experience of interacting in person.
"The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social, and economic opportunities," they said.
"And Europeans will be shaping it right from the start."
They added that the investment is a vote of confidence in the strength of the European tech industry and the potential of European tech talent.
"The EU has a number of advantages that make it a great place for tech companies to invest – a large consumer market, first class universities and, crucially, top quality talent," they wrote.
Facebook has been heavily criticised in recent week following the emergence of research that revealed the harmful effects of Instagram on childhood mental health.
The social network also suffered a significant outage across its multiple platforms that left users unable to access services.
The Data Protection Commission also fined WhatsApp €225m for a series of data protection breaches.
Despite the increased regulatory scrutiny that the company is coming under in Europe, the Facebook blog post referenced the "important role" it says the EU has to play "in shaping the new rules of the internet."
"European policymakers are leading the way in helping to embed European values like free expression, privacy, transparency and the rights of individuals into the day-to-day workings of the internet," Mr Clegg and Olivan wrote.
"Facebook shares these values and we have taken considerable action over the years to uphold them."
"We hope to see the completion of the Digital Single Market to support Europe's existing advantages, as well as stability on international data flows which are essential to a flourishing digital economy."