Facebook chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, defended the social network's use of targeted advertisements, while speaking at the company's first SME client council in Ireland.

The SME client council aims to connect small businesses with Facebook so any advertising issues can be easily discussed.

Sandberg said Facebook is committed to making sure online advertisements are relevant to users. She also emphasised Facebook's commitment to user privacy.

"Privacy is the utmost to Facebook and it's important to us that the people who use our service know it is their data, they have control of it, they share it. When they are able to personalise ads, we are doing it without sharing their private data with any advertisers," stressed Sandberg during a BBC interview at the event.

The SME client council was hosted at Facebook's international headquarters in Dublin, where Sandberg spoke about the importance of small businesses to Facebook's future.

"Our missions are intrinsically tied. The challenges and opportunity of this huge technological shift we are going through is one we can work out together, make the world a little smaller," she told small business owners.

Sandberg further discussed how the word ‘online' has become old fashioned because of the growth of mobile technology. "We are all going to be connected all of the time," she added.