Facebook Ireland has set aside more than €1 billion to meet potential fines the company may be facing from regulators.

Accounts for 2020, recently submitted to the Companies Registration Office, show that the firm increased its provision for such fines by €724m, from €302m during last year.

The firm said the money was put aside to meet potential fines arising from "various regulatory compliance matters, principally under investigation by the relevant data protection authorities."

"The company expects these regulatory matters to be resolved anytime within the next two financial years, however the timing of the outflow may be impacted by a number of uncertainties including the time it will take for any regulatory decision to be completed, as well as any appeal or dispute," it said.

It added that the amounts required to discharge its obligations may change.

Earlier this year, WhatsApp was fined €225m by the Data Protection Commission (DPC), while the DPC has a number of probes ongoing into other companies in the group previously known as Facebook, now called Meta.

The accounts also show that profit before tax at Facebook Ireland nearly doubled last year, from €482m in 2019 to €890m.

The increase came as the social network saw its turnover rise by €6.3 billion from €34.3 billion in 2019 to €40.6 billion during 2020.

The company said the increase was attributable to growth in advertising from third-party customers, in accounts recently filed with the Companies Registration Office.

Profit after tax rose from €309m to €623m, despite the company paying €266m in tax, up from €173m in 2019.

The accounts say that after the year end, "the company agreed to resolve certain tax matters with the tax authorities relating to prior tax years."

This resulted in additional taxes of €35m in respect of these years, the accounts state with this figure included in the corporation tax total paid of €266.3m.

Its effective tax rate for the year was 29.9%.

Facebook Ireland paid a dividend of €20m to its parent company, Facebook International Operations Ltd, but it does not propose the payment of a final dividend for the year.

Average headcount rose from 16%, from 1,944 in 2019 to 2,247 in 2020.

The total remuneration bill at the company for the year, including wages and salaries, share based payments, pension costs and others came in at €377m.

This means that on average, employees of Facebook Ireland were paid €168,133 each during the year.

"Ireland is an important hub for global innovation, where we continue to grow and invest through our International Headquarters," said Gareth Lambe, Head of Meta Ireland.

"Throughout the pandemic, we've seen people use our apps such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, to keep in touch with family and friends and build communities."

"We’ve also seen the positive impact our apps have for businesses and advertisers, many of whom have had to shift their operations online. As we look ahead and start building the metaverse, we’re excited to create more opportunities for businesses, developers and creators as well as grow our operations in Ireland."