Washington: Facebook has been fined $5 billion by US regulators over privacy and data protection lapses, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Based on a 3-2 vote, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the settlement while two Democratic members of the consumer protection agency dissented.

According to the newspaper, the deal, which is the largest penalty for privacy violations, will be finalised after the approval from the justice department.

When AFP sought a response on the agreement, Facebook did not immediately react.

Facebook had earlier this year said that it is likely to pay $3 billion to $5 billion for legal settlements on "user data practices", and the settlement seems to be in line with former's estimate.

Earlier, there were reports that surfaced about political consultancy Cambridge Analytica hijacking personal data of millions of users, while working on the Donald Trump campaign in 2016. Based on these revelations, the FTC last year announced that it reopened its investigation into a 2011 privacy settlement with Facebook.

The leading social media platform had to respond to question about whether it violated the earlier agreement and improperly shared user data with business partners.

Authorities in the US and regulators around the world have been inquiring on privacy issues concerning Facebook that is home to two billion users worldwide.

Tougher sanctions and regular monitoring of data practices must be in place, some Facebook critics have reportedly said. Some others have reportedly said that Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg should be made personally liable for penalties.

The partisan split on the vote was a bad omen, while it is unclear if the settlement would need changes to be incorporated in the business practices of Facebook, said Charlotte Slaiman of the consumer group Public Knowledge, according to Wall Street Journal.