Regulators said the subscription service introduced last year is a “pay or consent” method to collect personal data and bolster advertising.

When Meta introduced a subscription option last year that would allow users in the European Union to pay for an advertising-free experience of Instagram and Facebook, it was meant to fix regulatory problems the company faced in the region.

The plan created new legal headaches instead.

On Monday, European Union regulators said Meta’s subscription, which costs up to 12.99 euros a month, amounted to a “pay or consent” scheme that required users to choose between paying a fee or handing over more personal data to Meta to use for targeted advertising.

Meta introduced the subscription last year as a way to address regulatory and legal scrutiny of its advertising-based business model. Of most concern was the company’s combination of data collected about users across its different platforms — including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp

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