Apple remains one of the top-spending companies when it comes to TikTok ads, despite growing controversy about the video hosting service, reports The Financial Times (a subscription is required to read the article).

“Advertising on TikTok in the US grew by 11 percent in March, with companies including Pepsi, DoorDash, Amazon and Apple among the top spenders, according to data from app analytics group Sensor Tower,” the article adds. 

Some officials and lawmakers in Washington have proposed banning the service or forcing its sale to a U.S. company because, they say, the Chinese government could order TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance, to use the app to spy or distribute propaganda. House Republicans and Democrats last month hammered TikTok’s chief executive with questions at a hearing that illustrated the broad antipathy toward the company on Capitol Hill.

When members of Congress grilled TikTok’s chief executive last month on Capitol Hill, the app’s supporters sprang to its defense online.

The lawmakers were “old, tech-illiterate,” one said. “Out of touch, paranoid and self-righteous,” said another. The hearing “destroyed the illusion that US leads in cyber era,” read another post.

The New York Times says these comments didn’t come from TikTok’s users — 150 million and counting in the U.S. — but from representatives of China’s government.

In an information campaign primarily run on Twitter, Chinese officials and state media organizations widely mocked the U.S. in the days before and after the hearing, accusing lawmakers of hypocrisy and even xenophobia for targeting the popular app, according to a report released on Thursday by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a nonpartisan initiative from the German Marshall Fund.

TikTok says that its platform carries a range of views and that it would refuse to comply with a Chinese-government request for the data of its users. It has proposed a $1.5 billion plan to silo its U.S. operations from China. 

Last month U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colorado)penned a letter to the chief execs of Apple and Google demanding that they ban Chinese-owned TikTok from their app stores on national security grounds, according to The New York Times .

From the letter: TikTok’s vast influence and aggressive data collection pose a specific threat to US national security because of its parent company’s obligations under Chinese law. Article 7 of China’s National Intelligence Law decrees that ‘any organization or citizen shall support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.’ Article 14 provides Chinese state security agencies the authority to demand cooperation from companies like ByteDance, while Articles 16 and 17 allow intelligence agents to access relevant materials and files and make use of its communication tools and facilities.

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today