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Senior senators on the Judiciary Committee at a Wednesday hearing on the Parkland shooting. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Lawmakers on Wednesday questioned what social media companies were doing to respond to threatening posts or messages that can presage acts of gun violence.

Why it matters: Online platforms have become vectors for threats of violence against schools — an issue brought to the fore by the shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this year. A YouTube user shared the name of the shooter to the FBI, which was later overlooked, after the gunman reportedly left a comment on a video referencing a desire to be a school shooter.

The details: Internet Association President Michael Beckerman, who represents Google, Facebook and other major web companies, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the ways in which platforms work with law enforcement, identify users who may be in need of help and deal with objectionable content.

What they said: Democrats and Republicans alike asked questions of Beckerman. "My request of you is that you will advocate that your member organizations strongly advocate for the repeal of the Dickey Amendment [limiting the CDC from studying gun violence] so that you and we can have the research and the data that is available if we just study this thing," said Sen. Kamala Harris. Beckerman said he would "absolutely go back and take a look at it and discuss it with our members."

The bottom line: More of the questions were about the capabilities of the platforms than they were about raking the companies over the coals.

Go deeper

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

2 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

3 hours ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.